Impact of drought stress on the fruit quality of different Greek tomato landraces

T. Ntanasi, G. Ntatsi, I. Karavidas, N. Vamvakouris, C. Oikonomou, A. Ropokis, D. Savvas
Climate change is inducing major limitations to vegetable crops in the Mediterranean, due to severe drought stress, caused by general decrease and discontinuity in rainfall. Drought stress causes changes in morphology and physiology, as it impairs primary metabolic functions such as leaf photosynthesis. Tomato is considered one of the major horticultural crops. However, both the production and the quality of fruit are negatively affected by exposure to abiotic stresses such as drought. The severity of the crop and quality losses is mostly genotype and developmental stage depended. Besides being a scientific model plant with a well-annotated genome, tomato offers a huge collection of wild relatives as well as local landraces that constitute an interesting genetic pool of untapped plant biodiversity, unexplored up-to-date. Valorization of this local genetic biodiversity can be considered as one of the most promising ways leading to enhancement of yield, resistance to pests and diseases, as well as improvement of fruit quality. Taking the above into consideration, an experiment was conducted at the greenhouse facilities of the Laboratory of Vegetable Production at the Agricultural University of Athens, aiming to study the effects of drought stress on Greek tomato landraces. More specifically, the following eight landraces of tomato namely ‘GR 451/04’, ‘GRC 1594/04’, ‘ATS 048/06’, ‘Tomataki’, ‘Macedonia’, ‘Chondrokatsari’, ‘Areti’ and ‘Olympia’ were hydroponically cultivated under normal or deficit irrigation conditions (60% of the water requirements). The irrigation treatments were commenced 21 days after sowing, when the plants reached the stage of 7 true leaves. Fruit quality parameters such as diameter, color parameter a*, titratable acidity and total soluble solids content were measured. The results of this study revealed huge differences in the quality parameters and subsequent drought tolerance among the eight Greek tomato landraces. The obtained knowledge can be further utilized in breeding programs to develop new cultivars and hybrids that are more resilient to climate change-induced stress than the currently available genotypes.
Ntanasi, T., Ntatsi, G., Karavidas, I., Vamvakouris, N., Oikonomou, C., Ropokis, A. and Savvas, D. (2021). Impact of drought stress on the fruit quality of different Greek tomato landraces. Acta Hortic. 1320, 49-56
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1320.6
climate change, abiotic stress, local cultivars, greenhouse, soilless culture

Acta Horticulturae