The MRI and its role in HORTINLEA

The Max Rubner-Institut (MRI) has been founded in 2008 and is located in four different cities in Germany. Within MRI there are 200 scientists doing research in the fields of food and nutrition.

The MRI Department of Safety and Quality of Fruit and Vegetables is involved in HORTINLEA – mainly in SP4 and SP5. This department is situated in Karlsruhe in Southern Germany. Dr. Bernhard Trierweiler is the Subproject Coordinator of SP4. 

The goal of SP4 is to improve post-harvest quality assurance of ALV‘s during fermentation and storage, whereas SP5 explores food security in relation with composition of nutrients, air quality or packaging. Investigations for both SPs are mainly conducted in the experimental farm at the MRI which consists of a climate chamber and a greenhouse. Usually, plants grow three to four weeks in each chamber while temperature, light exposure and air humidity are regulated. Activities within HORTINLEA include growing plant material from Kenya, for example cowpea (Cleome gynandra), under realistic conditions and test different procedures or treatments during that phase. Some experiments conducted in 2014 show very positive results. There is evidence that fermentation does indeed improve the quality of the ALV’s. Fermentation is the biotic process that transforms the plants by aggregating different substances. 

The MRI is involved in several international projects, however, HORTINLEA is the very first cooperation with African partners. Never before has the MRI grown plants that had been transferred from an African country.