Research matters ... Grafting improves tomatoes

Although growers of glasshouse tomatoes are constantly striving to improve fruit quality, the possible benefits of grafting have received little attention.

In the experiments reported here, fruit quality was assessed in terms of soluble solids content (SSC) and titratable acidity.

Preliminary experiments established that scions grafted onto rootstocks could produce higher-quality fruit than self-grafted plants, especially when grown with high salt concentrations. Under the same conditions, some graft combinations also produced higher yields.

For the main experiment, recombinant inbred lines were created, initially by crossing a commercial tomato cultivar with the salt-tolerant species Solanum cheesmaniae. Six of these were then used as rootstocks for scions of commercial cultivar 'Boludo'.

Grown under non-saline conditions, none of the graft combinations produced higher yields than self-grafted 'Boludo' plants. But two of them did produce higher-quality fruit with higher SSC and titratable acidity.

Grown under very saline conditions (75 milliMolar sodium chloride), three graft combinations produced higher yields than self-grafted 'Boludo', while others produced fruit of higher quality. The results suggest that it is possible to increase fruit quality under non-saline conditions by grafting desirable cultivars onto selected rootstocks.

The Effectiveness of Grafting to Improve Tomato Fruit Quality by Flores, Sanchez-Bel, Estan, Martinez-Rodriguez, Moyano, Morales, Campos, Garcia-Abellan, Egea, Fernandez-Garcia, Romojaro and Bolarin (2010). Scientia Horticulturae 125 (3): 211-217.


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