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Effects of electrical conductivity of hydroponic nutrient solution on leaf gas exchange of five greenhouse tomato cultivars

Effects of electrical conductivity of hydroponic nutrient solution on leaf gas exchange of five greenhouse tomato cultivars

HortTechnology 18(2): 271-277

Five cultivars (Blitz, Mariachi, Quest, Rapsodie, and Trust) of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) were grown hydroponically in a greenhouse to determine photosynthetic and transpirational responses to three electrical conductivities (EC) [2.3 (control), 4.8, and 8.4 dS.m(-1)] of inflow nutrient solution. Leaf photosynthetic light response curves were measured during the early vegetative growth stage for ev Mariachi and Rapsodie and during the reproductive growth stage for all five cultivars. Leaf transpiration rate and leaf conductance were measured for all five cultivars in both stages. During the vegetative growth stage, high EC treatment of 8.4/14.3 dS-m(-1) inflow/efflux solution reduced leaf conductance and transpiration rate by 28% and 29%, respectively, compared with low EC treatment (2.3/5.9 dS. m(-1)), regardless of cultivar. Effects of EC treatments on leaf photosynthetic light response curves were cultivar specific. For 'Mariachi', moderate EC (4.8/8.7 dS.m(-1)) and high EC treatments in the vegetative growth stage reduced the maximum photosynthetic rate by 49% compared with the low EC treatment. However, for 'Rapsodie', the moderate EC treatment increased the maximum photosynthetic rate during the vegetative stage by 8% and 47% compared with low and high EC treatments, respectively. During reproductive growth stage, EC treatment did not significantly affect the transpiration rate, but high EC treatment reduced the leaf conductance by 15%, regardless of cultivar. Parameters of leaf photosynthetic response curves were affected by cultivar and EC treatment. Compared with the low EC treatment, the moderate EC treatment did not significantly affect the maximum photosynthetic rate of any cultivar except 'Rapsodie': which showed the greatest maximum photosynthetic rate in the moderate EC treatment. The results showed that the plant physiological response under elevated EC was cultivar and growth-stage specific, and increasing the inflow EC to the moderate level of around 4.8 dS.m(-1) during the reproductive growth stage would not negatively impact photosynthesis, transpiration, and leaf conductance of tomato plants, for all cultivars tested in the present experiment.

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