There are market openings in EC countries for new products such as pumpkins. Increasing product quality and developing alternative agricultural practices help farmers to cope with the present problems caused by overproduction. The project concerns two regions with weak agricultural structures and where development is slow, namely Sologne in France and the region of Cordoba in Spain. It will help to develop natural resources and high-quality food products.
Research on pumpkin varieties has been carried out over the past few years on an experimental farm in Sologne, France (Sainte-Marthe). The aim is to acquire knowledge of how they are grown, particularly when using organic farming techniques.
The project is to determine the capability of pumpkin cultivars to grow in 3 different European locations when using organic farming techniques and to assess their storage ability and nutritional value. 10 varieties of pumpkin were chosen according to determined selection criteria. 2 field trials were established in each participating country. One of these field trails were organic with 30 plots consisting of 10 varieties with 3 replications and the other was conventional with 6 plots consisting of 2 varieties and 3 replications. Climatic conditions, soil characteristics and fertilization on each site were recorded. Crops have been harvested and some biochemical analyses made.
The purpose of the EC project is to obtain more in-depth scientific and technical knowledge on : (1) organic farming techniques as applied to 10 varieties of pumpkin; (2) research into the biochemical composition and the nutritional value of these varieties (when harvested and after storage).
The 10 varieties to be grown during the first year of the project are :
- Cucurbita maxima specy : potimarron, hokkaido, rouge vif d'Etampes, bleu de Hongrie;
- Cucurbita pepo specy : cornue d'hiver, melonnette, patidou, patisson;
- Cucurbita moscata specy : butternut, courge musquee.
Biochemical analysis will be performed by INSERM (Institut National de la Recherche Medicale), Unite 130, Marseille, France. Dry matter, protein, lipid, carbohydrate, mineral and vitamin content will be identified harvested and after 3 months in storage. The properties of dietary fibers will be studied with the collaboration of the University of Louvain, Belgium.
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