This year’s Plant Protection Science Days took place on February 16, 2016 at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA), and on the following day, February 17, at the MTA Centre for Agricultural Research Institute for Soil Sciences and Agricultural Chemistry. Krisztina Pullai Boziné, who worked on ÖMKi’s landrace tomato experiments, is a second-year student of plant medicine (Szent István University, Supervisor: Dr. Ferenc Tóth Ph.D.) in the Agroecology Department, and a co-winner of the Dr. Gustav Szelényi Memorial Foundation award for "Best Youth Presenter."

The name of her presentation was "Comparative analysis of landrace tomato varieties and pest groups on two organic farms”. Collaborating authors were Dániel Reiter, Katalin Mali, Máté Makra, Barbara Mirek Cseperkálóné, László Csambalik, Anna Divéky-Ertsey, Péter Nagy, György Turóczi, Dóra Drexler and Ferenc Tóth. 

The research was developed as part of cooperation on a larger project by ÖMKi, the Organic Farming and Sustainable Systems Department of Szent István University’s Faculty of Horticulture, and the Plant Protection Institute of Szent István University’s Faculty ofAgricultural and Environmental Sciences. The common goal is to find out whether or not the selected landrace tomato varieties and gene-bank items are suitable for intensive cultivation in organic farming, as well as to see if, in light of the results, high performing landrace tomato varieties that are less susceptible to pests and pathogens can be recommended to farmers.

As part of the project in 2015 we measured observable pests, aphids, cotton bollworm, root-knot nematodes and spider mite damage on field and greenhouse crops, while also recording weekly yields. During the experiment, we ran tests on 8 indeterminate, 1 semi-determinate and 4 determinate Hungarian tomato gene-bank items of a wide variety of colors and shapes through the ÖMKi network of 2 organic gardens and with two different cultivation methods: in the Szigetmonostor Organic Farm polytunnel, and in the open fields of the Háromkaptár Organic Farm.

There was only one genetic item that proved to be more sensitive to the common spider mite than the other gene-bank items and control varieties tested. On the whole, the tests showed that the majority of tomato gene bank items showed similar resistance to the examined pests groups and types as the commercial control varieties. As there remain many research opportunities into different tomato varieties, we are continuing our experiments in 2016.