CGN fruit vegetables collection

It is difficult to determine exactly what is a fruit and what is a vegetable. Scientifically speaking true fruits are developed from the ovary in the base of the flower. The confusion about 'fruit' and 'vegetable' arises because of the differences in usage. Fruit vegetables are a group of crops of which the immature and/or mature fruits are eaten as a vegetable. They can be cooked or eaten raw. A wide range of crops are defined to belong to this group but tomato, (hot) pepper, eggplant, cucumber, pumpkin and squash are the best known and cultivated all over the world.

CGN maintains five crops which are considered as Fruit Vegetable. To the above mentioned definition tomato, (hot)pepper, eggplant and cucumber belong to this group. Strictly taken melon does not belong to this group because most fruits are eaten raw when they are mature and sweet. However in many countries also unripe melons or non-sweet melons are eaten, cooked as a vegetable. Therefor and because of the similar cultivation method used at CGN, melons are grouped under the Fruit Vegetables.

Collection history


The fruit vegetable collections originate predominantly  from the former Institute for Horticultural Plant Breeding (IVT) where they were used as working collections for breeding purposes. CGN adopted four collections in 1992 and 1993. Melon was adopted in 2005 when it became apparent that this old collection would be discarded by Plant Research International, the successor of the IVT (Willem van Dooijeweert, Mark van der Wouw, 2011). The taxonomic status of the accessions was verified, accession names of varieties were checked for synonyms and the passport data were complemented as much as possible. The collections were rationalised by rejecting duplicates and hybrids. For melon only the accessions which could not be found in other collections  were adopted in order to prevent duplication. The quality and quantity of the seeds of these collections were assessed and material meeting the CGN standards of that time, were made available to users. Many accessions did not meet the standards and needed to be regenerated. (Groot, E.C. de and I.W. Boukema, 1997)  In collaboration with Dutch breeding companies organised in Plantum NL,  these accessions have been regenerated since1998. The collections have been extended through IBPGR (IPGRI) funded expeditions to Pakistan (1981), Egypt (1985/86). and collecting expeditions to Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan (1997, 1999) in cooperation with the Uzbekistan Research Institute of Plant Industry and the Vavilov Institute in Russia (Van Soest, 1998).  The collection of eggplant was significantly enlarged with material from IBPGR (IPGRI) missions in the 1980s and stored at CGN for safety duplicate reasons. This material was not available anymore in other collections and therefore adopted by CGN. Most material came from different collection mission to West-Aftrica.

In the period 2000-2004 all passport fields were systematically reviewed. During 2005-2006 the collection was rationalized by removing redundant germplasm  based on analysis of passport data.


The fruit vegetable collections of CGN originate predominantly from the former Institute for Horticultural Plant Breeding (IVT) where they were used as working collections for breeding purposes. The collections include material from Dutch and foreign seed firms, botanical gardens and genebanks  like the USDA Plant Introduction Stations (439). The University of Davis, USA donated wild species of tomato and more than hundred pepper accessions come from the University of Reading, UK. (de Groot & Boukema).

For eggplant,  originating in West- Africa, accessions where donated from a safety duplicate collection of IPGRI held at CGN. These accessions were formerly held by Richard Lester of the University of Birmingham  but during an EU funded project “Eggnet”, transferred to collections at CGN, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands and INRA, France.

The collections were also extended with samples from expedition missions.


Material can be requested through the CGN on-line ordering facility. Professional users will receive samples of 25 seeds for the purpose of food and agriculture under the terms of the SMTA. Plant breeding companies, research institutes and universities are the most frequent users of the fruit vegetable collections. The collections were adopted in the early 1990s and since that time until 2012, a total number of 3997 tomato, 6926 pepper, 1363 eggplant, 3757 cucumber and 38 melon seed samples have been distributed, making a total of 16081 seed samples.

40% of the material is distributed to private companies. Half of this material goes abroad and half is requested by Dutch companies, except for cucumber. 50% of the requested material is sent to public research institutes mainly outside The Netherlands. Since 2005 requests are increasing.

International cooperation

CGN manages and hosts the ECPGR tomato database, in which data of more than 21000 accessions from 38 collections can be found. Currently, CGN chairs the Solanaceae Working Group and is vice-chair of the Cucurbits Working Group of the European Cooperative Programme for Plant Genetic Resources (ECPGR).

  • CGN was partner in one EU funded project focussing on eggplant called EGGNET
  • 2000-2005: Eggplant Genetic Resources Network; Management, Conservation, and Utilization of Genetic Resources of Eggplants (Project RESGEN PL 98-113)



Groot, E.C. de and I.W. Boukema, 1997. Economisch belangrijke vruchtgroenten geconserveerd. Prophyta 51 (2): 14-16.

Willem van Dooijeweert, Mark van der Wouw, CGN stelt meloenen veilig, bericht op Groen Kennisnet, (2 september 2011)

Van Soest LJM, Baimatov KI, Chapurin VF, Pimakhov AP (1998) Multicrop collecting mission to Uzbekistan. Plant Genetic Resources Newsletter 116: 32-35.

Dooijeweert, W. van, 2002. The status of the cucumber (Cucumis sativus) collection of CGN. In: L. Maggioni, M. José Diez, B. Pico Sirvent, compilers. Report of a Working Group on Cucurbits. Ad hoc Meeting, 19 January 2002, Adana, Turkey, IPGRI, Rome, Italy. pp 33-35.

Dooijeweert, W. van and I.W. Boukema, 2002. The status of the Solanaceae collection of CGN. In: L. Maggioni, M. Daunay, compilers. Report of a Working Group on Solanaceae. Ad hoc Meeting, 21 September 2001, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, IPGRI, Rome, Italy. pp 58-60.

Taylor, I. B. and Al-Kummer, M. K. 1982. The formation of complex hybrids between Lycopersicon esculentum and L. peruvianum, and their potential use in promoting interspecific gene transfer. Theor. Appl. Genet. 61, 59-63.

Heiser, C. and Anderson, G. 1999. ‘New’ solanums. In: Janick, J. (ed) Perspectives on new crops and new uses. ASHS Press, Alexandria, Virginia, pp. 379-384.

Kochieva, E.Z., Ryzhova, N.N., van Dooijeweert, W., Boukema, I.W. & Arens P, 2004.
Assessment of genetic relationships in the genus Capsicum using different DNA marker systems.
Proceedings of the XIIth EUCARPIA Meeting on Genetics and Breeding of Capsicum and Eggplant, May 17-19, 2004, Noordwijkerhout, the Netherlands.

Natalia N. Rhyzhova, Willem van Dooijeweert, Elena Z. Kochieva, 2008.
Genetic diversity of Capsicum baccatum revealed by AFLP.Assessment. Proceedings of the 18th EUCARPIA General Congress, September 9-12, 2008, Valencia, Spain.