Submitted to: ASHS Centennial Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 17, 2006
Publication Date: July 17, 2006
Citation: Krizek, D.T., Saftner, R.A., Park, E., Abbott, J.A., Camp, M.J., Clark, H.D. 2006. Yield data from 2005 and instrumental and sensory evaluation of tomato fruits from plants grown in high tunnels at Beltsville, MD or obtained from commercial sources [abstract]. HortScience. 41(4):1083. Technical Abstract: A study of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) production and quality in high tunnels was conducted. Seedlings of 'Oregon Spring' and 'Red Sun' were transplanted weekly to two high tunnels at Beltsville, MD from March 23 to April 13, 2005. Data were recorded on the date of anthesis, leaf expansion, and marketable yields of tomato fruits for each cultivar and transplant group under UV-transmitting (+UV) and UV-blocking (-UV) covering materials. Instrumental and sensory quality characteristics of fruit obtained from 'Oregon Spring' and 'Red Sun' in the two high tunnels were compared with field- and hydroponic greenhouse-grown fruit obtained from a wholesale warehouse. 'Oregon Spring' plants flowered in 16-17 d from transplanting versus 25 d for 'Red Sun'. 'Red Sun' produced 3X as much leaf area as did 'Oregon Spring'. The fresh weight of 'Red Sun' tomatoes in the +UV and -UV high tunnel was 60% and 22% greater, respectively, than that of 'Oregon Spring'. Intact fruit or extracts were used for measurements of firmness, titratable acidity (TA), soluble solids content (SSC), and aromatic volatile concentration. The SSC of high tunnel-grown tomatoes was higher than that of commercially grown fruit. Field-grown tomatoes had the highest firmness and hydroponically-grown tomatoes had the highest concentration of volatiles. 'Red Sun' fruit from plants grown under -UV had a higher SSC than corresponding fruit grown under +UV. High tunnel-grown tomatoes had higher sensory scores for sweetness, flavor, and for acceptability of texture, taste and overall eating quality than commercially grown fruit. These results are the first to show that high tunnel-grown tomatoes generally have better consumer acceptance than those grown commercially.