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Cherry tomato growth, yield and fruit quality improve when irrigated with saline water


Researchers from France examined the influence of different salt concentrations on the physiological responses and gene expression of Solanum lycopersicum (cherry tomato; cultivar West Virginia 106). Their findings were published in the journal Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B — Soil & Plant Science.

  • Experts predict that the use of saline water for farming will become a necessity in the future.
  • In some cases, irrigation with saline water can improve the quality of fruits like tomatoes.
  • For their experiment, the researchers grew tomatoes in a glasshouse using peatmoss substrate and irrigated them with 0, 25, 50, 75, 100 or 150?milliMolar (mM) sodium chloride (NaCl).
  • Compared with non-salinized plants, those irrigated with 75, 100 and 150?mM NaCl were shorter and had reduced stem width, lower plant dry weight, fewer flowers and smaller leaf areas.
  • Treatment with 50mM NaCl and above also reduced plant yield, average fruit weight and fruit number.
  • On the other hand, irrigation with NaCl increased fruit total soluble solids, titratable acidity and firmness, and also improved taste.
  • At low concentrations (i.e., 25 mM and below), NaCl induced the expression of salt-responsive marker genes in cherry tomatoes.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that treatment with low concentrations of saline water improves fruit quality without compromising yield, while treatment with high concentrations improves fruit quality but reduces yield.

Journal Reference:

El-Mogy MM, Garchery C, Stevens R. IRRIGATION WITH SALT WATER AFFECTS GROWTH, YIELD, FRUIT QUALITY, STORABILITY AND MARKER-GENE EXPRESSION IN CHERRY TOMATO. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B — Soil & Plant Science. 2018;68(8):727–737. DOI: 10.1080/09064710.2018.1473482

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