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  • 1 USDA, ARS, Vegetable Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705.

Selected breeding lines and cultivars of tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentrum Mill.) were evaluated for heat tolerance in the greenhouse (39°C day and 28°C night) and field using flowering, fruit-set, yield, fruit quality, and seed production as criteria. Under high temperature, heat tolerant lines performed better than the other two groups in all evaluation criteria except for seed production. The opposite was found under normal field conditions where heat sensitive commercial cultivars outyielded the heat tolerant lines and cultivars. Production of viable seeds under high temperature was severely reduced regardless of the heat tolerance level exhibited by the line or cultivar. Some of the heat tolerant lines could provide valuable sources of plant material for physiological studies to establish the molecular basis of heat tolerance and also could provide excellent germplasm sources for breeding heat tolerant tomato cultivars.

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