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ARS Home » Plains Area » Sidney, Montana » Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory » Agricultural Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #180871


item Sainju, Upendra

Submitted to: World Congress of Food Science and Technology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/12/2005
Publication Date: 3/28/2006
Citation: Sainju, U.M. and R. Dris. 2006. Sustainable Production of Tomato. In: R. Dris, editor, Crops: Quality, growth, and biotechnology. Helsinki, Finland: WFL Publisher. p. 190-216.

Interpretive Summary: Tomato is the most popular home garden and the second most consumed vegetable after potato in the world. Originating in Central and South America, tomato was not recognized as a useful vegetable until 1800. As the taste and nutritious values of tomatoes were known, production and consumption of tomatoes increased rapidly. In 2001, consumption of tomato was three times greater in USA and two times greater in Europe than in the rest of world. Out of the total area under tomato production in the world in 2001, the areas under tomato were as much as 5 % in USA and 19 % in Europe. Similarly, USA had 11 % and Europe 22 % of world’s total tomato production in 2001. Today, tomatoes constitute an important part of salad containing leafy vegetables, green onions, cucumbers, peppers, and other vegetables. Tomatoes are eaten as a part of sandwich, stewed, fried, or baked singly or in combination with other vegetables. They are eaten as soups, sauces, catsup, or barbecue. In the fast-food service restaurants, tomato is an essential ingredient in pizza, pasta, hamburger, hot dogs, and other foods. Tomatoes are rich in nutrients. They have lower calories and are good sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, and minerals. A 230 g of tomato consumption can supply about 60 % of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C in adults and 85 % in children. Similarly, consumption of 100 mL of tomato juice can supply 20 % of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A. In addition, tomatoes provide small amounts of vitamin B complex, such as thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin. Tomatoes are also a good source of iron. Consumption of tomatoes can significantly reduce the risk of developing colon, rectal, and stomach cancer. Recent studies suggest that tomatoes contain antioxidant, lycopene, the most common form of carotenoid, which markedly reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Tomato is easily digestible and its bright color stimulates appetite. Recent studies on the use of improved soil and crop management practices have shown that sustainable yields of tomatoes can be achieved in no-till production with legume cover crops and reduced rate of N fertilization. These practices not only reduce soil erosion but also improve soil and water qualities by increasing soil organic matter concentration and reducing N leaching. This paper discusses the effects of tillage, cover crops, and N fertilization on tomato production, soil properties, and water qualities and recommend best management practices that sustain tomato yields, reduce the rate and cost of N fertilization, and improve soil and water qualities. The paper also emphasizes the needs of the economic and social evaluations of these practices that are cost effective and acceptable to the producers.

Technical Abstract: Tomato, being one of the most popular vegetable, is widely grown in the world because of its taste, color, flavor, and nutrient contents. Tomatoes can be grown during summer in the field and during winter in the greenhouse when field growing conditions are not favorable for their growth. Additional growing techniques, such as growing medium, environmental condition, and artificial pollination, should be considered when tomatoes are grown in the greenhouse. Soil and crop management practices, such as tillage, cover crops, N fertilization, and crop rotation, can influence soil properties and tomato yield. Intensive management practices, such as conventional tillage, and heavy fertilization, used for tomato production can degrade soil and water qualities by increasing soil erosion and N leaching and reducing soil organic matter. Improved management practices, such as conservation tillage, cover cropping, and N fertilization rates can reduce soil erosion, conserve soil organic matter, reduce N leaching, and sustain tomato yields. Economic implications of such practices and their acceptability to producers, however, need to be evaluated by conducting them in different soil and environmental conditions.