2017 - 2020
The aim of the project is to increase the content of valuable metabolites in bell pepper leaves by abiotic stress conditions in order to tap the potential of the green residual biomass, which accumulates at the end of the cultivation period, as a natural source of these metabolites.. Various experimental approaches have shown that is it possible to increase the content of the target metabolites graveobioside A and cynaroside in young plants and yielding crops. The highest levels of these target metabolites were recorded during the summer period when plants have to develop a defense response to extreme conditions, e.g. by enriching antioxidative compounds.
An experimental approach at HGU showed that elevated temperature as well as light intensity led to an increased level of metabolites in young plants grown under artificial conditions in climate chambers.
Under the leadership of Dr. Alexandra Wormit (RWTH Aachen University, Chair of Botany and Molecular Genetics), the team was complemented by the Jülich Research Center (Institute of Bio- and Geosciences, Prof. Ulrich Schurr; Dr. Anika Wiese-Klinkenberg), the Process Engineering Group of Aachen (RWTH Aachen, Prof. Andreas Jupke) and the University of Bonn (Institute of Food and Resource Economics, Prof. Stefanie Bröring and INRES Horticultural Sciences, Prof. Noga). In Bonn (INRES Horticultural Sciences) and in Geisenheim, Dr. Simone Röhlen-Schmittgen was actively involved in the project.
The innovation project was divided into i) stress-induced increase of target metabolites in young as well as yielding plants (leaves and stems), ii) corresponding utilization approaches with regard to environmentally friendly and economical extraction and purification steps, iii) bio-economic evaluation of the market entry potential of possible products, and iv) further metabolites to improve value creation.