Drought stress had a predominant effect over heat stress on three tomato cultivars subjected to combined stress

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  • Rong Zhou
  • Xiaqing Yu
  • Carl-Otto Ottosen
  • Rosenqvist, Eva
  • Liping Zhao
  • Yinlei Wang
  • Wengui Yu
  • Tongmin Zhao
  • Zhen Wu

BACKGROUND: Abiotic stresses due to environmental factors could adversely affect the growth and development of crops. Among the abiotic stresses, drought and heat stress are two critical threats to crop growth and sustainable agriculture worldwide. Considering global climate change, incidence of combined drought and heat stress is likely to increase. The aim of this study was to shed light on plant growth performance and leaf physiology of three tomatoes cultivars ('Arvento', 'LA1994' and 'LA2093') under control, drought, heat and combined stress.

RESULTS: Shoot fresh and dry weight, leaf area and relative water content of all cultivars significantly decreased under drought and combined stress as compared to control. The net photosynthesis and starch content were significantly lower under drought and combined stress than control in the three cultivars. Stomata and pore length of the three cultivars significantly decreased under drought and combined stress as compared to control. The tomato 'Arvento' was more affected by heat stress than 'LA1994' and 'LA2093' due to significant decreases in shoot dry weight, chlorophyll a and carotenoid content, starch content and NPQ (non-photochemical quenching) only in 'Arvento' under heat treatment. By comparison, the two heat-tolerant tomatoes were more affected by drought stress compared to 'Arvento' as shown by small stomatal and pore area, decreased sucrose content, ΦPSII (quantum yield of photosystem II), ETR (electron transport rate) and qL (fraction of open PSII centers) in 'LA1994' and 'LA2093'. The three cultivars showed similar response when subjected to the combination of drought and heat stress as shown by most physiological parameters, even though only 'LA1994' and 'LA2093' showed decreased Fv/Fm (maximum potential quantum efficiency of photosystem II), ΦPSII, ETR and qL under combined stress.

CONCLUSIONS: The cultivars differing in heat sensitivity did not show difference in the combined stress sensitivity, indicating that selection for tomatoes with combined stress tolerance might not be correlated with the single stress tolerance. In this study, drought stress had a predominant effect on tomato over heat stress, which explained why simultaneous application of heat and drought revealed similar physiological responses to the drought stress. These results will uncover the difference and linkage between the physiological response of tomatoes to drought, heat and combined stress and be important for the selection and breeding of tolerant tomato cultivars under single and combine stress.

Original languageEnglish
Article number24
JournalB M C Plant Biology
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

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