Seed of 42 wild accessions (Plant Introductions) of Lycopersicon pimpinellifolium Jusl., 11 cultigens (cultivated accessions) of L. esculentum Mill., and three control genotypes [LA716 (a salt-tolerant wild accession of L. pennellii Corr.), PI 174263 (a salt-tolerant cultigen), and UCT5 (a salt-sensitive breeding line)] were evaluated for germination in either 0 mm (control) or 100 mm synthetic sea salt (SSS, Na+/Ca2+ molar ratio equal to 5). Germination time increased in response to salt-stress in all genotypes, however, genotypic variation was observed. One accession of L. pimpinellifolium, LA1578, germinated as rapidly as LA716, and both germinated more rapidly than any other genotype under salt-stress. Ten accessions of L. pimpinellifolium germinated more rapidly than PI 174263 and 35 accessions germinated more rapidly than UCT5 under salt-stress. The results indicate a strong genetic potential for salt tolerance during germination within L. pimpinellifolium. Across genotypes, germination under salt-stress was positively correlated (r = 0.62, P < 0.01) with germination in the control treatment. The stability of germination response at diverse salt-stress levels was determined by evaluating germination of a subset of wild, cultivated accessions and the three control genotypes at 75, 150, and 200 mm SSS. Seeds that germinated rapidly at 75 mm also germinated rapidly at 150 mm salt. A strong correlation (r = 0.90, P < 0.01) existed between the speed of germination at these two salt-stress levels. At 200 mm salt, most accessions (76%) did not reach 50% germination by 38 days, demonstrating limited genetic potential within Lycopersicon for salt tolerance during germination at this high salinity.
Cold tolerance (CT) of 31 tomato accessions (cultivars, breeding lines, and plant introductions) representing six Lycopersicon L. sp. was evaluated during seed germination and vegetative growth. Seed germination was evaluated under temperature regimes of 11 ± 0.5 °C (cold stress) and 20 ± 0.5 °C (control) in petri plates containing 0.8% agar medium and maintained in darkness. Cold tolerance during seed germination was defined as the inverse of the ratio of germination time under cold stress to germination time under control conditions and referred to as germination tolerance index (TIG). Across accessions, TIG ranged from 0.15 to 0.48 indicating the presence of genotypic variation for CT during germination. Vegetative growth was evaluated in growth chambers with 12 h days/12 h nights of 12/5 °C (cold stress) and 25/18 °C (control) with a 12 h photoperiod of 350 mmol.m-2.s-1 (photosynthetic photon flux). Cold tolerance during vegetative growth was defined as the ratio of shoot dry weight (DW) under cold stress (DWS) to shoot DW under control (DWC) conditions and referred to as vegetative growth tolerance index (TIVG). Across accessions, TIVG ranged from 0.12 to 0.39 indicating the presence of genotypic variation for CT during vegetative growth. Cold tolerance during vegetative growth was independent of plant vigor, as judged by the absence of a significant correlation (r = 0.14, P > 0.05) between TIVG and DWC. Furthermore, CT during vegetative growth was independent of CT during seed germination, as judged by the absence of a significant rank correlation (rR = 0.14, P > 0.05) between TIVG and TIG. A few accessions, however, were identified with CT during both seed germination and vegetative growth. Results indicate that for CT breeding in tomato, each stage of plant development may have to be evaluated and selected for separately.
The genetic relationship between cold tolerance (CT) during seed germination and vegetative growth in tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) was determined. An F2 population of a cross between accession PI120256 (cold tolerant during both seed germination and vegetative growth) and UCT5 (cold sensitive during both stages) was evaluated for germination under cold stress and the most cold tolerant progeny (the first 5% germinated) were selected. Selected progeny were grown to maturity and self-fertilized to produce F3 families (referred to as the selected F3 population). The selected F3 population was evaluated for CT separately during seed germination and vegetative growth and its performance was compared with that of a nonselected F3 population of the same cross. Results indicated that selection for CT during seed germination significantly improved CT of the progeny during germination; a realized heritability of 0.75 was obtained for CT during seed germination. However, selection for CT during germination did not affect plant CT during vegetative growth; there was no significant difference between the selected and nonselected F3 populations in either absolute CT [defined as shoot fresh weight (FW) under cold stress] or relative CT (defined as shoot FW under cold as a percentage of control). Results indicated that, in PI120256, CT during seed germination was genetically independent of CT during vegetative growth. Thus, to develop tomato cultivars with improved CT during different developmental stages, selection protocols that include all critical stages are necessary.
High temperature tended to aggravate injury caused to tomato plants by flooding. Based on plant responses such as chlorosis, epinasty, and wilting, less than 0.2% (8 of 4630 accessions) of the world collection of the garden tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) and related Lycopersicon species exhibited some level of tolerance to a short period of flooding associated with high temperature. The level of flood tolerance in one of the 8 flood tolerant accessions, L-123, was found to be less than that of 7 other vegetables tested.