Bioeconomy Science Center
Research and cooperation for a sustainable bioeconomy

Bioeconomy Science Center
Research and cooperation for a sustainable bioeconomy
BOOST FUND Project InducTomE

Induction of secondary metabolites in tomato by-products for extraction and economic evaluation of the model process


Plant secondary metabolites are essential components of the human diet, utilised as phytomedicines, as industrial raw materials and high-value fine chemicals. Chemically, secondary metabolites exhibit an enormous diversity and complexity, which makes their industrial chemical synthesis difficult and expensive. Agriculture and horticulture produce large quantities of plant biomass residues as by-products. Plants increase the production of secondary
metabolites in response to abiotic and biotic stress. The InducTomE project aims to identify abiotic stress treatments to induce the accumulation of two secondary metabolites (rutin and solanesol) in green tomato residues to high amounts. A conceptual process design will be developed for an extraction process and emerging value chains will be evaluated together with their economic feasibility. In addition, co-induced secondary metabolites will be identified and their market entry potential will be evaluated.

Impact on bioeconomy

InducTomE generates added value to food crop production by utilizing horticultural waste for extraction of secondary metabolites. As a long-term prospect, the developed process concept will be transferable to other waste streams and metabolites, thereby playing a pivotal role in the successful development of a bio-economy perspective.

Expected results/project products

Suitable abiotic treatments for the induction of the target metabolites in tomato will be identified. Selected treatments will be applied to plants under greenhouse conditions and the physiological response will be analysed. The tomato plants will be screened for additional secondary metabolites induced by the most suitable abiotic treatments and the respective biosynthetic pathways will be identified. A technical separation process of the target metabolites of stress treated tomato biomass consisting of pre-treatment of the raw material, solid-phase extraction and purification will be developed. Moreover, the production and capital costs of the downstream processing and the emerging value chains and market potentials will be analysed.

Participating Core Groups

Prof. Dr. Björn Usadel
Dr. Alexandra Wormit

Lehrstuhl für Botanik und Molekulargenetik
Institut für Biologie I
RTWH Aachen University
52074 Aachen
Phone: +49 241 80 - 26757
Fax: +49 241 80 - 22757

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schurr, Dr. Anika Wiese-Klinkenberg, Dr. Björn Thiele
, Institut für Bio- und Geowissenschaften 2 (Pflanzenwissenschaften), Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
Prof. Dr. Georg Noga, PD Dr. Mauricio Hunsche, Institut für Nutzpflanzenwissenschaften und Ressourcenschutz (INRES), Universität Bonn
Prof. Dr. Andreas Jupke, Andreas Bednarz, Lehrstuhl für Fluidverfahrenstechnik (AVT.FVT), RWTH Aachen University
Prof. Dr. Stefanie Bröring, Dr. Laura Carraresi, Lehrstuhl für Technologie- und Innovationsmanagement im Agribusiness, Institut für Lebensmittel- und Ressourcenökonomik (ILR), Universität Bonn

Funding period
01.11.2015 – 31.12.2017

The total budget of InducTomE is € 668.693. InducTomE is part of the NRW-Strategieprojekt BioSC and thus funded by the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.


Hoffmann, AM, Noga, G and Hunsche, M (2016). Alternating high and low intensity of blue light affects psii photochemistry and raises the contents of carotenoids and anthocyanins in pepper leaves. Plant Growth Regulation 79(3): 275-285.