|ROBERTSON, LARRY - Former ARS Employee
Submitted to: Plant Genetic Resources: Characterization and Utilization
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/21/2017
Publication Date: 3/14/2018
Citation: Labate, J.A., Breksa III, A.P., Robertson, L.D., King, B.A., King, D.E. 2018. Genetic differences in macro-element mineral concentrations among 52 historically important tomato varieties. Plant Genetic Resources: Characterization and Utilization. 16(4):343-351.
Interpretive Summary: Quality of tomato fruit is highly dependent on nutrients in the soil that are absorbed and utilized by the plants. The efficiency of nutrient uptake and use by tomato plants depends on both their genes and the environment. Knowledge of differences among tomato varieties in nutrient levels in fruit can provide a basis with which to discover the genes that contribute to high quality in terms of flavor, ripening, fruit density and firmness, and fruit shape. In human diets, daily intakes of potassium, magnesium and calcium are typically below healthful levels, while sodium intake is often excessive. We compared 52 diverse commercially important varieties of tomato for concentrations of the nutrients potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium in fruits. Significant differences among the 52 varieties for all four nutrients were found. A strong interrelationship between potassium and magnesium levels was observed that was independent of calcium and sodium. Results showed that genes influenced potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium concentrations consistently across different environments. Results can contribute to development of new tomato varieties with favorable cation profiles in terms of fruit quality and human health.
Technical Abstract: Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) fruit quality and yield are highly dependent on adequate uptake of nutrients. Potassium, magnesium and calcium are essential elements that influence fruit quality traits such as color, uniformity of ripening, hollow fruit, fruit shape, firmness, and acidity. Sodium is not an essential element for tomato and can detrimentally compete with absorption of potassium and calcium. Daily intakes of potassium, magnesium and calcium in human diets are typically below healthful levels, while sodium intake is often excessive. The objective of this study was to compare 52 diverse commercially important varieties of tomato for concentrations of potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium in fruits. The tomatoes were produced in replicated plots in Geneva, NY in 2010 and 2011. Multiple fruits per plot were harvested vine-ripe, homogenized and assayed for cations. ANOVA showed significant differences among the 52 varieties for all four traits, i.e., cation concentrations (df = 51, P < 0.0001 to 0.0034) and no significant differences between years for any trait (df = 1, P = 0.3432 to 0.6770). Factor analysis showed a strong interrelationship between potassium and magnesium that was independent of calcium and sodium. Potassium and magnesium were highly significantly correlated with each other (r = 0.64, P < 0.0001). No other correlations between pairs of traits were observed. Results supported a genetic basis for potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium concentrations that was consistent across environments. Results can contribute to development of cultivars with favorable cation profiles in terms of human health and fruit quality.