Several experiments had studied the use of landraces to improve tomato crop, and specifically in terms of drought tolerance. However, their role and the interaction with the water scarcity when these landraces are used as rootstocks in grafted plants is not yet clear. The aim of this work is to study the physiological and agronomical changes in grafted tomato plants when using ‘Ramellet’ tomato, a drought tolerant landrace from the Balearic Islands. For this purpose, M82, two ‘Ramellet’, a hybrid ‘Ramellet’ (used for commercial purposes) and two commercial (‘Maxifort’ and ‘Emperador’) rootstock genotypes were reciprocally grafted and cultivated in greenhouse conditions in coco pith bags. Plants were grown under two different cultivation conditions: well-watered (WW, covering 100% water and nutrient demands) and combined-stress (CS, reduction of ~70% water and nutrient application). Analyses were undertaken covering different physiological and agronomical levels, including leaf and xylem anatomy, leaf gas-exchange, carbon isotopes, plant water status and fruit yield and quality, with non-grafted and self-grafted plants of each genotype used as controls. Combined stress reduced plant growth for all combinations, although at a different degree depending on the scion and rootstock. The changes in growth were related to differences on the number and diameter of xylem vessels that, in turn, affected the hydraulic capacity of the plants. There was a strong correlation between the apparent leaf hydraulic conductance and diffusional traits to CO2 for CS combinations, involving changes in leaf anatomy and carbon isotope composition. Differences were also found for leaf gas-exchange parameters and water use-efficiency among combinations, with a clear graft effect between non-grafted and self-grafted plants. Fruit yield and quality were affected by the treatment, but also for the rootstock. Overall, the present results highlights an effect of graft × treatment on the performance of tomato plants, offering a promising way to improve water use efficiency and fruit quality in horticultural crops.
Medical Subject Headings: food and beveragesfungi
SDSN - Greece Sustainable Development Projects : A NOVEL AND INTEGRATED APPROACH TO INCREASE MULTIPLE AND COMBINED STRESS TOLERANCE IN PLANTS USING TOMATO AS A MODEL
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