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Food Quality and Safety in Europe



Tomatoes and potatoes are widely consumed in Europe, making them one of the most important crop types grown. To address the current and future needs of consumers, processors and producers throughout Europe, the EU-SOL project aims to develop high quality tomato and potato varieties with improved traits.

The project particularly focuses on mapping, isolating and characterising genes underlying important traits such as nutritional value, taste, flavour, fragrance, shelflife, starch composition, yield and plant architecture. These traits will be mapped in the large reservoir of mostly unexploited wild tomato and potato species.

As a matter of fact, in a world where most food products are enhanced with additives and preservatives, a recent trend is pushing for the return of natural and biological aliments. The project's findings on solanaceous crops' biodiversity could have a significant commercial impact on this specific agricultural sector.


EU-SOL is dedicated to mapping, isolating and characterising genes responsible for important traits for consumers, processors and producers of solanaceous crops. Assembly of these genes within new genotypes will boost the existing knowledge on the factors affecting crop quality and provide a blueprint for novel, high quality varieties. These new varieties are being developed using efficient breeding strategies based on marker-assisted breeding and genetic engineering that exclusively use natural plant genes.

The project participants acquire an understanding of the molecular and regulatory mechanisms underlying biosynthesis, accumulation and degradation of metabolites and profiling tomato and potato collections. Mapping crop genetics allows for a better exploitation of the crops' biodiversity to enrich the genetic basis of cultivated plants with new alleles that improve productivity, quality and adaptation.


Genetic variation is the engine that drives modern plant breeding. Designed as a network of plant scientists, EUSOL is the ideal vehicle to strengthen the competitiveness of EU plant breeding SMEs, by building up the critical mass needed for breakthrough genomics research into tomato and potato quality.

EU-SOL aims to have a major impact on the commercial activities of European companies, with the establishment of a Technology Transfer Platform, ensuring that the scientific output of the project is made available to the society at large, both in the EU and in all the partner and International Cooperation countries involved. The dissemination of these results by means of a website, forums and educational activities also facilitates the interaction of EU-SOL with other research projects in the field.

The activities of this project support the improvement of the quality and wholesomeness of solanaceous-based products. By using state-of-the-art science, EU-SOL will explore the natural crop biodiversity to find ways of creating healthier and better quality tomatoes and potatoes.

List of Partners

  • Plant Research International BV, (The Netherlands)
  • Flanders Interuniversity, Institute for Biotechnology (Belgium)
  • INRA (France)
  • Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, (Germany)
  • Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, (Germany)
  • Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, (Germany)
  • GSF Forschungszentrum fuer Umwelt und Gesundheit, GmbH, (Germany)
  • Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, (Spain)
  • Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, (Italy)
  • University of Malaga (Spain)
  • Centre Technique Interprofessionnel des Fruits et Legumes, (France)
  • Ecole Normale Supérieure, (France)
  • Agro-technology & Food Innovations RV, (The Netherlands)
  • Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, (Greece)
  • The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, (Israel)
  • Weizmann Institute of Science, (Israel)
  • Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, (UK)
  • Scottish Crop Research Institute, (UK)
  • Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, (UK)
  • The University of Nottingham (UK)
  • The Natural History Museum, (UK)
  • Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, (Italy)
  • Ente per le Nuove Tecnologie, l'Energia e l'Ambiente, (Italy)
  • The "Federico II'' University of Naples, (Italy)
  • Maritsa Yegetable Crops Research Institute, (Bulgaria)
  • Agricultural Biotechnology Center, (Hungary)
  • BIOPLANT, Biotechnologisches Forschungslabor GmbH, (Germany)
  • KEY GENE NY, (The Netherlands)
  • GENELAB SRL, (Italy)
  • LIS Consult, (The Netherlands)
  • GENOME Express (France)
  • SAVEOL SCA, (France)
  • Agro Marche Strategies, (France)
  • National University of Salta (Argentina)
  • Centro de Investigaciones en Ciencias Veterinarias y Agronomicas (Argentina)
  • University of Sao Paulo, (Brazil)
  • University of Pretoria, (South Africa)
  • Hebron University, (Israel)
  • ENZA Zaden Beheer BV, (The Netherlands)
  • SVS Holland BV,(The Netherlands)
  • Kweek- en Researchbedrijf Agrico BV, (The Netherlands)
  • Averis Seeds BV, (The Netherlands)
  • HZPC HOLLAND BV, (The Netherlands)
  • Syngenta Seeds BV, (The Netherlands)
  • Rijk Zwaan Zaadteelt en Zaadhandel BV, (The Netherlands)
  • De Ruiter Seeds R&D NL BV, (The Netherlands)
  • Vilmorin & Cie SA, (France)
Full title:
High quality solanaceous crops for consumers, processors and producers by exploration of natural biodiversity
Contract n°:
Project co-ordinator:
Willem Stiekema, Centre for Biosystems Genomics,
EC Scientific Officer:
Annette Schneegans,
EU contribution:
€ 18.7M
Integrated project

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Last update: 06 December 2007 | Top