Variations of leaf morphology, photosynthetic traits and water-use efficiency in Western-Mediterranean tomato landraces


Modern tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) breeding has mainly focused on increasing productivity under unlimited watering. In contrast, some Mediterranean accessions have been traditionally cultivated under water shortage and selected on the basis of their water-use efficiency (WUE). Ramellet and Penjar landraces were planted with other traditional, old and modern inbreeds, under full irrigation. In order to found differences between the tomato accessions, gas-exchange and leaf morphology measurements were performed. Despite high variability, Ramellet and Penjar presented clear differences compared to modern cultivars, mostly related to leaf morphology and photosynthetic traits, while no differences were found in WUE. Results highlighted that better leaf CO2 conductance might be a main factor determining the improvement of net CO2 assimilation and WUE.

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accession groups


Balearic Islands Ramellet accessions

C a :

CO2 ambient concentration

C c :

chloroplastic CO2 concentration



C i :

substomatal CO2 concentration


control accessions


modern inbreeds accessions


old varieties accessions


traditional non-long shelf-life fruit genotype accessions


Catalonian Penjar accessions


electron transport rate

g m :

mesophyll conductance

g s :

stomatal conductance to H2O

gtotal :

the total conductance


leaf density


leaf isotope composition


leaf mass area


long shelf-life fruit phenotype


leaf thickness


principal components analyses

P N :

net photosynthetic rate

R D :

rate of mitochondrial respiration at darkness

R L :

rate of mitochondrial respiration in light

Vcmax :

maximum velocity of Rubisco carboxylation


Valencian Country Penjar accessions


Western Mediterranean accessions


water-use efficiency

WUEi :

intrinsic water-use efficiency


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Corresponding author

Correspondence to J. Galmés.

Additional information


We thank Dr. Ángeles Calatayud (IVIA) and Dr Sergio González Nebauer (UPV) for lending us their Li-Cor 6400, and Dr. Cyril Douthe for help in intendance. We are also grateful to Mr. Maurici Calduch for crop care and management. Also, we would like to thank Dr. Biel Martorell for his technical help on the IRMS and all the staff at the Serveis Cientifico-Tecnics of the Universitat de les Illes Balears for their help while running these experiments. This work was funded by the projects TOMDRO (AGL2013) to Dr. Galmés, TRADITOM (EC H2020 topic SFS-7a-2014 Contract 634561) to A. Granell, and AAEE/56/2015 from the Government of the Balearic Islands. We also thank to two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments to improve the manuscript.

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Fullana-Pericàs, M., Conesa, M.À., Soler, S. et al. Variations of leaf morphology, photosynthetic traits and water-use efficiency in Western-Mediterranean tomato landraces. Photosynthetica 55, 121–133 (2017).

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Additional key words

  • carbon assimilation
  • carbon isotope composition
  • diffusive limitations
  • mesophyll conductance