Main research question/goal
We develop new varieties of leek, celery, parsley, black salsify, and turnip. These are the most popular species of outdoor vegetables for producers and the commercial food chain. We evaluate the most appropriate selection method of genetic crossing for each species. We test whether hybrid breeding can be applied. We examine in which cases resistance against pests or diseases is available and crossable into the variety. Which are the current and most relevant selection criteria for these vegetables? One special aspect of this research is the intensive cooperation between ILVO and the industry (producers and commercial chain) through their participation in a steering committee. Through this project, we aim for more choice in high yielding, robust and tolerant varieties to ensure the production of these vegetable species in Flanders.Research approach
For each vegetable species we define appropriate selection criteria and breeding methods. To do so, we grow the vegetables in accordance with local practice, we evaluate them in the field, and at harvest time we evaluate them qualitatively and quantitatively. We limit chemical input as much as possible, to observe the natural resistance of the plant genotypes and select them. Only plants of the best inbred lines or families are used for further crossings. Predominant selection criteria are high disease tolerance, uniformity of the crop and plant qualities that meet specific market demands. An important part of the research is oriented toward the best method to compose a new variety: lines, families or building hybrids.Relevance/Valorisation
Field-grown vegetables have great economic importance for the horticulture industry in Flanders. The fresh market (auctions) and the frozen food industry are asking for varieties suitable for various production periods and methods. Via this project new varieties of leek, celery, parsley and black salsify have already been developed and commercialized. In accordance with the increase of sustainability in the agriculture and horticulture, we always focus on low chemical input varieties. In addition, this project offers opportunities to enter new markets through innovative vegetable crops.