Thermopriming in the early phase of tomato development leads to plant tolerance

S. Röhlen-Schmittgen, T. Körner, R. Gierholz, S. Hanten, F. Roß, J. Zinkernagel
Horticultural production is adversely affected by changing climatic conditions, such as periods of extreme temperatures, that often result in immense yield and quality losses. Plants naturally adapt to suboptimal conditions by making metabolic changes that give them improved tolerance to recurring stress conditions. This so-called priming effect enables plants to respond faster, stronger and more sustainably to subsequent stressful situations. Therefore, targeted abiotic stress application as a priming stimulus can initiate plant tolerance to various (a)biotic stressors which occur during horticultural production. Thus, stabilize the overall yield performance of vegetable crops in the long term. To investigate whether thermopriming at the seedling stage of tomato is an effective application for improving plant tolerance, plants were exposed to a 14-day lasting heat period of 40°C (1.5 h day-1) as an initial stimulus, as well as re-exposed to these stress conditions at a later time point of vegetative growth. We found that plant growth and chlorophyll content were reduced in stressed plants compared to controls. While plants that were previously thermoprimed exhibited increased antioxidative pigment content in leaves compared to non-primed plants. However, this positive impact of thermopriming on plant tolerance might be more pronounced in the generative stage of development. Thermopriming or other stimuli might support alternative crop protection methods of the integrated pest management in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.
Röhlen-Schmittgen, S., Körner, T., Gierholz, R., Hanten, S., Roß, F. and Zinkernagel, J. (2023). Thermopriming in the early phase of tomato development leads to plant tolerance. Acta Hortic. 1372, 155-162
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2023.1372.21
priming stimulus, thermopriming, secondary metabolites, plant fitness, plant growth

Acta Horticulturae