Exploring Morpho-Physiological Variation for Heat Stress Tolerance in Tomato. Academic Article uri icon


  • Texas tomato production is vulnerable to extreme heat in the spring-summer cropping period, which is exacerbated by the lack of superior genetic materials that can perform well in such environments. There is a dire need for selecting superior varieties that can adapt to warm environments and exhibit high yield stability under heat stress conditions. This research aimed at identifying heat-tolerant varieties under heat-stress conditions in controlled and open-field environments and was carried out in three stages. For the first experiment, 43 varieties were screened based on yield responses in natural open-field environment. From those, 18 varieties were chosen and exposed to control (greenhouse: 26/20 C) and constant heat-stress (growth-chamber: 34/24 C) conditions for three months. Measurements were done for chlorophyll fluorescence, chlorophyll content (SPAD), plant height, stem diameter and heat injury index (HII). The last experiment was conducted in an open field with a pool of varieties selected from the first and second experiments. Leaf gas exchange, leaf temperature, chlorophyll fluorescence, SPAD value, electrolyte leakage, heat injury index and yield were assessed. From the combined studies, we concluded that heat-tolerant genotypes selected by using chlorophyll fluorescence and HII in controlled heat-stress conditions also exhibited heat-tolerance in open-field environments. Electrolyte leakage and HII best distinguished tomato varieties in open-field environments as plants with low electrolyte leakage and HII had higher total yield. 'Heat Master,' 'New Girl,' 'HM-1823,' 'Rally,' 'Valley Girl,' 'Celebrity,' and 'Tribeca' were identified as high heat-tolerant varieties. Through trait correlation analysis we provide a better understanding of which traits could be useful for screening and breeding other heat-tolerant tomato varieties.

published proceedings

  • Plants (Basel)

author list (cited authors)

  • Bhattarai, S., Harvey, J. T., Djidonou, D., & Leskovar, D. I.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Bhattarai, Samikshya||Harvey, Joshua T||Djidonou, Desire||Leskovar, Daniel I

publication date

  • February 2021


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