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  • Author or Editor: Menahem Edelstein x
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A greenhouse experiment was conducted to determine the influence of long-term cadmium (Cd) exposure (0, 25, or 50 µm of Cd) on crop productivity, fruit quality, leaf chlorophyll content, fluorescence, and mineral composition in plants of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L. cv. Ikram), either nongrafted, self-grafted, or grafted onto rootstocks of tomato (Maxifort or Unifort) and eggplant (Black Beauty). Both moderate (25 µm) and high (50 µm) concentration of Cd in root environment considerably decreased the fruit yield and fruit number in response to Cd levels, whereas mean fruit weight decreased but was similar to both Cd supply levels. The fruit yield, shoot and root biomass, and leaf area (LA) were higher in plants grafted onto tomato rootstocks and especially onto Maxifort in comparison with nongrafted or self-grafted plants and especially grafted onto Black Beauty. The higher plant performance of tomato rootstock–grafted plants were related to higher chlorophyll fluorescence and photosynthetic pigments concentration in leaves associated with better nutrient translocation and availability (higher Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, and Cu) in leaves. The content of Cd was also lower in leaves and fruits of Maxifort-grafted plants. Concerning fruit quality, especially peel color, toxicity symptoms, and Cd concentration, Black Beauty followed by Maxifort-grafted plants were better than the other grafting combinations. However, plants grafted onto Black Beauty rootstock resulted in lowest fruit yield and plant growth attributes due to lower nutrient uptake and translocation indicating some incompatibility reaction between Black Beauty rootstock and Ikram scion.

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Tomato ‘Abigail’ (Solanum lycopersicum L.) and basil ‘Perry’ (Ocimum basilicum L.) were selected as model plants for selenium (Se) supplementation to evaluate a) effects of Se concentration in nutrient solution on Se content in different organs under fertigation, b) Se phytotoxicity threshold values, and c) mechanisms. Plants grown in a glasshouse were irrigated with 0, 1, 2, 5, and 10 mg Se/L in the first experiment, while with 0, 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1.0, and 1.5 mg Se/L in the second. Tomato plants accumulated Se linearly with rising Se concentrations, whereas accumulation in basil followed a saturation curve. Plants supplemented with 1.5 mg Se/L in the irrigation water accumulated 0.23 and 0.88 mg Se/g dry weight (DW) in tomato fruits and basil shoots, respectively. However, tomato roots, shoots and fruits DW were 56%, 36%, and 66% lower than in controls, respectively, and basil roots and shoots DW were 92% and 88% lower than in control, respectively. Calculated toxicity-threshold values were 1.27 mg Se/L for tomato and 0.44 mg Se/L for basil. Tomato crops were more tolerant than basil crops, although data suggested yield reduction at lower Se concentrations than those effecting biomass reductions. The results indicate that Se supplementation through drip irrigation may efficiently fortify tomato and basil. However, Se concentrations should be lower than 0.75 and 0.25 mg·L−1 for tomato and basil, respectively, to avoid yield reduction and possible Se phytotoxicity.

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Melon plants grafted on Cucurbita rootstock may suffer from nutritional deficiencies due to reduced absorption and translocation of minerals to the foliage. Melon (Cucumis melo L.) cv. 6023 was grafted onto two interspecific Cucurbita rootstocks (Cucurbita maxima × Cucurbita moschata) ‘TZ-148’ and ‘Gad’. Nongrafted melons were used as controls. Two fertilization field experiments were conducted in walk-in tunnels in the northern Arava valley of southern Israel. Two fertigation regimes were used: 1) standard and 2) enriched for magnesium (Mg; 150 mg·L−1), manganese (Mn; 7.5 mg·L−1), and zinc (Zn; 0.75 mg·L−1) to increase the concentrations of the lacking elements. The enriched fertigation significantly increased Mn, Zn, and Mg contents in the leaf tissue. Concentrations of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), sodium (Na), chloride (Cl), iron (Fe), and boron (B) were unaffected by the enriched fertilizer. There were no deficiency symptoms in grafted plants supplied with the enriched fertilizer.

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