, Volume 52, Issue 3, pp 421–429 | Cite as

Response of two tomato cultivars to field-applied proline under irrigation with saline water: Growth, chlorophyll fluorescence and nutritional aspects

  • B. Kahlaoui
  • M. Hachicha
  • S. Rejeb
  • M. N. Rejeb
  • B. Hanchi
  • E. Misle
Original Papers


The response of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) to abiotic stress has been widely investigated. Recent physiological studies focus on the use of osmoprotectants to ameliorate stress damage, but experiments at a field level are scarce. Two tomato cultivars were used for an experiment with saline water (6.57 dS m−1) and subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) in a silty clay soil. Rio Grande is a salinity-tolerant cultivar, while Heinz-2274 is the salt-sensitive cultivar. Exogenous application of proline was done by foliar spray at two concentrations (10 and 20 mg L−1) during the flowering stage. Control plants were treated with saline water without proline. Proline at the lower concentration (10 mg L−1) increased dry mass of different plant organs (leaves, stems, and roots) and it improved various chlorophyll a fluorescence parameters compared with controls. Regarding mineral nutrition, K+ and P were higher in different organs, while low accumulation of Na+ occurred. However, Mg2+ was very high in all tissues of Rio Grande at the higher concentration of proline applied. Thus, the foliar spray of proline at 10 mg L−1 increased the tolerance of both cultivars. The growth of aboveground biomass of Heinz-2274 was enhanced by 63.5%, while Rio Grande improved only by 38.9%.

Additional key words

chlorophyll fluorescence foliar pulverization proline salt tolerance Solanum lycopersicum Tunisia 







dry mass


electrical conductivity of water


maximal fluorescence in the dark-adapted leaves


maximal fluorescence in the light-adapted leaves


minimal fluorescence in the dark-adapted leaves


steady-state fluorescence


maximal variable fluorescence in the dark-adapted leaves


maximal variable fluorescence in the light-adapted leaves


maximal efficiency of PSII photochemistry


efficiency of excitation energy capture by open PSII reaction centers


nonphotochemical quenching


the quantum yield of PSII electron transport


plastoquinone pool




proline concentration of 10 mg L−1


proline concentration of 20 mg L−1


sodium adsorption ratio


reactive oxygen species


salt-sensitive cultivar


subsurface drip irrigation


salt-tolerant cultivar


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Copyright information

© The Institute of Experimental Botany 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Kahlaoui
    • 1
  • M. Hachicha
    • 1
  • S. Rejeb
    • 1
  • M. N. Rejeb
    • 1
  • B. Hanchi
    • 2
  • E. Misle
    • 3
  1. 1.National Research Institute of Rural EngeneeringWaters and Forestry (INRGREF)ArianaTunisia
  2. 2.Faculty of Sciences, TunisUniversity CampusTunisTunisia
  3. 3.Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and ForestryUniversidad Católica del MauleCasillaCuricó, Chile

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