Identification Of Rootstocks And Mechanisms For Salinity And Boron Tolerance in Tomato Grown in Nevada

tomato work in greenhouse

Horticultural production in arid and semi-arid regions is challenged by increasing salinity and toxic levels of elements such as boron. It is not uncommon to find both salinity and boron toxicity in Nevada agricultural soils, which is also an increasing problem in highly over used areas.

Increased dependence on ground water for irrigation with higher contents of salts and boron can exacerbate the problem, especially in areas with geothermal waters and earthquake faults as in Nevada.

Agricultural production in saline soils relies on high quality water, but with increasing drought events, growers may rely more on new plant varieties with higher salinity and boron tolerance to maintain yields.

Breeding new cultivars for drought, salt and temperature stress tolerance has shown slow gains because of the genetic complexity needed to achieve tolerance while maintaining yields and fruit quality.

Instead, grafting a desired plant on a rootstock can combine advantageous traits found in each plant. Rootstocks in vegetable production are widely used in highly developed production systems worldwide, but adoption in the U.S. has been slow despite demonstrated benefits.

Rootstocks that prevent movement of salts into the shoot can enhance crop productivity. Boron tolerance mechanisms are similar to those of salt tolerance: preventing translocation to the shoot.