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05/03/2024 | Pressemitteilung

Organic vegetable breeding: University of Kassel and Julius Kühn Institute work together

According to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, almost two thirds of all Germans buy vegetables frequently or even exclusively in organic quality. They play an important role in a sustainable and healthy diet. In future, the University of Kassel and the Julius Kühn Institute will be working together to grow organic vegetables in a more climate-resilient and resource-efficient way.

Image: Outdoor tomato project.
Tomatoes of the Primavera variety. This variety was bred in the outdoor tomato project.
Image: University of Kassel.
After the signing (from left to right): Dr. Bernd Horneburg (JKI and Uni, FG Organic Plant Breeding), Prof. Dr. Frank Ordon (President JKI Crop Plant Research), Prof. Dr. Ute Clement (President Uni), Prof. Dr. Maria Finckh (Dean FB11).

The President of the Julius Kühn Institute, Prof. Dr. Frank Ordon, and University President Prof. Dr. Ute Clement signed a cooperation agreement yesterday (May 2) at the University of Kassel. The first joint project will focus on improving the drought stress tolerance of tomatoes. It is being led by Dr. Bernd Horneburg from the Department of Organic Plant Breeding and Agricultural Biodiversity.

Institute President Frank Ordon said: "The cooperation agreement with the University of Kassel is a further step by the Julius Kühn Institute to strengthen research in the field of organic agriculture, especially organic plant breeding, in a sustainable and long-term manner by using synergisms."

University President Ute Clement commented: "This cooperation is a further step towards reflecting the excellent networking of our researchers through formal collaborations. This strengthens our research profile in sustainability and is also a tailwind for the planned Innovation Center for Agricultural System Transformation."

The Dean of the Faculty, Prof. Dr. Maria Finckh, added: "The cooperation fits in well with the planned permanent strengthening of vegetable growing and organic vegetable breeding at the Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences, which not only attracts interested students, but also takes into account the increasing demand for locally and organically produced vegetables."

The Julius Kühn Institute and the University of Kassel have already collaborated on numerous projects, for example in the areas of alternative plant protection methods, plant cultivation measures for soil improvement using agroforestry methods and breeding research, such as for more disease-resistant cherry varieties.

The Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences at the University of Kassel is the only university faculty in Germany that is exclusively dedicated to researching the fundamentals of organic agriculture and its use. It is of international importance in the training of junior staff for research, (organic) agriculture and beyond. The Faculty is based in Witzenhausen, about 40 kilometers east of Kassel.

The Julius Kühn Institute is the Federal Research Institute for Cultivated Plants in Germany. As an independent higher federal authority, it is part of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. The Institute conducts research in the fields of breeding research and genetic diversity, plant protection and agroecosystems at a total of 18 specialist institutes.


Press contact:

Sebastian Mense
University of Kassel
Press spokesman
Tel: +49 561 804-2474
E-mail: presse[at]uni-kassel[dot]de