Growth, Fruit Yield, and Ion Concentration in Tomato Genotypes after Pre- and Post-emergence Salt Treatments

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Centro de Edafología y Biología Aplicada de1 Segura, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientifcas, Apartado 4195, Murcia E-30080, Spain

The effects of increasing salinity on dry weight and ion concentration of shoots at various growth stages and on fruit yield in four tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) genotypes were assessed. The salt treatments (35, 70, and 140 mm NaCl) were applied pre-emergence (seed sowing) (pre-E) and post-emergence (four-leaf stage) (post-E) and maintained during plant growth. Genotype salt tolerance, measured as shoot dry weight in response to increases in salt concentration, varied depending on plant growth stage and salt application time. When salt was applied pre-E, salt tolerance increased with plant age, whereas when applied post-E, 45-day-old plants were the most salt tolerant. Mature plants were similarly salt tolerant independent of the growth stage at which the salt treatments began. However, fruit yield of all genotypes was higher when salt was applied pre-E than post-E. Shoot dry weight decreased as shoot Cl and Na ion concentrations increased. During early growth stages, pre-E salt-treated plants had the highest Cl-and Na+ concentrations and the lowest shoot dry weights. However, at the advanced stages, shoot Cl- and Na Concentrations were equal for both salt application times. These results show that the plants must adapt to salinity during a period that allows them to develop a mechanism to regulate internal Cl- and Na+ concentrations and, thus, grow under high salinity.

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