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Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology ›› 2023, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (1): 114-122.doi: 10.13287/j.1001-9332.202301.012

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Effects of water and salt stresses on plant growth and xylem hydraulic properties of tomato

WANG Yu1,2, LI Hao1,2, YAO Zhen-zhu1,2, LIAO Qi1,2, DU Tai-sheng1,2*   

  1. 1Center for Agricultural Water Research in China, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100083, China;
    2National Field Scientific Observation and Research Station on Efficient Water Use of Oasis Agriculture in Wuwei of Gansu Province, Wuwei 733000, Gansu, China
  • Received:2022-03-04 Revised:2022-10-19 Online:2023-01-15 Published:2023-06-15

Abstract: Xylem is the main tissue for water transport in plants, and the changes of hydraulic properties in which would affect plant water relations and fruit water accumulation. It remains unclear regarding the responses of xylem anatomy and hydraulic properties to water and salt stresses in tomato plants and their relationships with plant growth and fruit water content. We conducted a pot experiment in a greenhouse to investigate the responses of plant growth, fruit water content, and xylem hydraulic properties of a cherry tomato (Hong Baoshi) and a medium-fruited tomato (Beifan 501). There were three treatments, control with a soil water content (θ) of 75%-95% of field capacity (FC) and an initial electrical conductivity (EC) of 0.398 dS·m-1; water stress with θ of 75%-95% of FC (before flowering) and 45%-65% of FC (from flowering until maturity) and an EC of 0.398 dS·m-1; and salt stress with θ of 75%-95% of FC and an EC of 1.680 dS·m-1. Results showed that water and salt stresses decreased the cross-sectional stem area and xylem vessel diameter by 22.0%-40.7% and 10.0%-18.3%, respectively, and reduced the specific hydraulic conductivity of stem and the hydraulic conductivity of peduncle by 8.8%-41.1% and 12.9%-28.4%, respectively. Those changes inhibited plant growth and reduced aboveground fresh weight, fruit size, fresh weight and water content, with a more pronounced negative effect in the medium-fruited tomato. More-over, fruit water content was positively correlated with the specific hydraulic conductivity of stem and peduncle. In conclusion, water and salt stresses would inhibit plant growht, fruit fresh weight, and consequently tomato yield, due to their negative effects on xylem hydraulic properties of the tomato plant. Medium-fruited tomatoes are more susceptible to water and salt stresses than cherry tomatoes.

Key words: water stress, salt stress, xylem hydraulic property, xylem anatomy structure, tomato plant growth, fruit water content.