Costa teams up for tomato study
A A first global study using DNA samples from hydroponic tomatoes is underway thanks to a collaboration between Costa and the University of New England (UNE).
The “Tomato Rhizobiome” project – which will be part of the Future Food Systems Co-operative Research Center (CRC) – is designed to deepen our understanding of microbial colonies in the root zones of hydroponically grown greenhouse tomato crops.
A stronger rhizobiome helps plants grow better, produce more fruit, and show greater resistance to pathogens. Once the project team has a better understanding of the rhizobiome of hydroponically grown tomatoes, they will use this knowledge to find ways to foster robust rhizobiomes in these plants.
UN Australian project manager Gal Winter set up hydroponic tomato trial plots in close collaboration with Costa Tomato Greenhouses in Guyra, NSW
“Hydroponic media are very different from the soil environment,” Winter explained.
“Crops grown in the soil get all the nutrients from the soil, and it’s very, very rich in microorganisms. It is difficult to study what is in the root zone of hydroponic plants, because there are not many.
“The challenge is how to get a population of microorganisms [in that hydroponically grown plant’s root zone] to support the plant?
Paul Butterworth, Costa Greenhouse Technical Development Manager, said the initial results are very promising.
“We believe that the project is progressing well and that the information already coming from the project has an influence on the way we view our cultures. Exciting times ahead, ”said Butterworth.