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Tomato (lycopersicon esculentum, cv. Cxd271bio) yield and quality during conversion from conventional to organic production

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Tomato (lycopersicon esculentum, cv. CXD271bio) yield and quality during conversion from conventional to organic production

N. Nardo1, S. Foddai1, E. Azzini1, I. Baiamonte1, S. Di Ferdinando2, S. Paoletti2, V. Vizioli3 and F. Paoletti1*

1 Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca per gli Alimenti e la Nutrizione, Rome, Italy

2 Agenzia Regionale per lo Sviluppo e l’Innovazione dell’Agricoltura del Lazio, Rome, Italy

3 Fondazione Italiana per la Ricerca in Agricoltura Biologica e Biodinamica, Rome, Italy

*E-mail:; Tel: 00390651494562; Fax: 00390651494550

The conversion of a conventional farm to the methods of the organic farming is a very critical stage of technical and economical investment. From an agronomical point of view, usually the conversion needs a very different length of time with respect to that set by the regulation, because the organic farming is based on the soil fertility and, in general, on the preservation at the equilibrium of the farm’s ecosystem. These elements affect time and method of the conversions that, although based on clear principles, can require different interventions and solutions and give different results in different times depending on the starting conditions of fertility, farm organization, operating possibilities and knowledge.

A research project has been funded by the Lazio Region (central Italy) into the Interregional Programme Agriculture Quality with the general objective to monitor the soil characteristics and biodiversity, the quality of the products as well as to study the economical aspects in a farm sited in Lazio Region (Central Italy) during a 3 years conversion period from conventional to organic. Generally, in the geographical area interested by this study the organic farms have not a livestock. For this reason the conversion plan was focused on the rotation and the use of green manure. This work concerns the results of the first year of the conversion (certification body: Suolo e Salute srl). In particular, the results of the determination of the yield and some quality characteristics of processing tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum, cv. CXD271bio) are presented. Moreover, the results were compared to those from a neighboring farm managed with the conventional method, having the same characteristics of the soil. The tomato samples from two field replicates of both the farms were analysed for the following parameters: moisture and soluble solids content, titratable acidity, colour, texture, composition in organic acids, carotenoids and antioxidant capacity with FRAP and TEAC methods. Data were analysed by Anova and multiple comparison test (Duncan at P0.05).

Although it is clear that it will be possible to draw meaningful conclusions only at the end of the project, the results of the first year of the study indicate that the yield of the farm in conversion was higher than that of the conventional one (20,575 kg/ha, 1.235 kg/plant VS. 17,202 kg/ha 17.202, 1.032 kg/plant). A significant effect of the field replicates on all the quality parameters was observed. The samples of tomato from the farm in conversion showed higher values of the colour parameters, size, moisture content, while lower levels were found for the soluble solids content, titratable acidity, malic acid and antioxidant capacity determined by TEAC method.

Key words: tomato, conversion period, quality, yield

Acknowledgement: Study carried out in the project “Valutazione di schemi di conversione all’agricoltura biologica e biodinamica in aziende tipo della Regione Lazio” by Agenzia Regionale per lo Sviluppo e l’Innovazione dell’Agricoltura del Lazio (ARSIAL, Regional Agency for the Development and the Innovation of the Agriculture of Lazio) – Lazio Region

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