Solanum melongena, known variously as eggplant, brinjal and aubergine, is an important vegetable crop throughout Asia and the Mediterranean region where its fruits are a key ingredient of national and regional cuisines. While worldwide production of this Old World solanaceous crop species lags behind that of its New World kin, potato and tomato, 43 million tons (t) of eggplant were harvested from 1.7 million hectares (Ha) of land in 2009 (FAO 2009). Asia is the principal centre of eggplant production. In 2009, China grew 26 million tons of the crop on 740,000 Ha and India 10 million tons on 600,000 Ha. While far less of the crop was grown in Egypt (1.2 million t; 50,000 Ha) and Turkey (820,000 t; 27,000 Ha), these two countries are ranked as the 3rd and 4th largest producers of eggplant worldwide. Other notable producers are Indonesia (450,000 t; 46,000 Ha), Iraq (396,000 t; 21,000 Ha), Japan (349,000 t; 10,400 Ha), Italy (245,000 t; 9400 Ha), Spain (205,000 t; est. 3500 Ha) and the Philippines (201,000 t; 21,000 Ha) (FAO 2009). The average yield (26 t/Ha) ranges considerably, depending on environmental and cultural conditions with the highest yields achieved in the Netherlands (460 t/Ha) from F1 hybrids grafted onto disease resistant rootstocks and grown under highly controlled greenhouse conditions.