Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy
BOOST FUND Project InducTomE

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


InducTomE aimed to identify abiotic stress treatments for induction of two secondary metabolites (SM), rutin and solanesol, in tomato plants for further extraction and valorization. We identified inducing stress conditions for both SM in young tomato plants under controlled conditions. Accumulation of the metabolites was also achieved in commercial-like greenhouses, although induction levels were considerably lower and minor fruit yield losses were observed for most severe stress conditions. A simple phenotyping technique using mobile phone images was developed to predict rutin and solanesol contents in stressed tomato plants. Transcriptome and metabolite analyses identified further SM with potential for utilization. We determined the best parameters for an extraction process and an economic evaluation showed that a cascaded process for both metabolites would reduce the total costs significantly. Additionally, potential market sectors for the products and a new value chain of such a process were identified. Our study indicated also barriers for market entry, which have to be addressed upon realization of a cascade utilization. In conclusion, the proposed process for utilization of tomato biomass waste would not pay off at this point of research due to yield losses, low induction levels in the commercial greenhouse and given the low economic value of rutin and solanesol. However, we showed that the feasibility of bio-based processes is increased by a cascaded concept targeting multiple valuable compounds to reduce the total specific production costs of each compound. Tomato plants have a high potential for implementation of this cascade due to their diversity of SM. and the proven stress-inducible accumulation of targeted metabolites.

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.