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Bernardo Murillo-Amador, Juan José Reyes-Pérez, Luis Guillermo Hernández-Montiel, Edgar Omar Rueda-Puente, Barbara De Lucia, Felix Alfredo Beltrán-Morales and Francisco Higinio Ruiz-Espinoza

Worldwide over 30% of irrigated and 7% of rainfed agriculture has been limited by salinity stress. Tolerance of crops to salinity varies and negatively affects agricultural productivity. Despite the plethora of information on NaCl tolerance mechanisms, it is still not completely elucidated. The purpose of this research was to determine NaCl tolerance of eight tomato varieties (Tropic, Feroz, Ace, Super Rio Grande, Yaqui, Missouri, Vita and Floradade) by evaluating their physiological traits. These varieties were exposed to salinity stress by the addition of NaCl (0, 50, 100, 150 and 200 mM). The physiological variables measured were stomatal conductance, water potential, chlorophyll a, b, total, indirect chlorophyll content, leaf temperature, transpiration and relative water content. The results showed differences in tolerance between varieties in terms of NaCl concentrations and there was interaction between varieties × NaCl in the majority of physiological variables. Symptoms of NaCl stress in the tomato plants were leaf wilting, desiccation, necrosis, and death. All measured variables decreased as salinity increased, except for relative water content and leaf temperature, values of both these variables increased with higher concentrations of NaCl. Physiological traits may be used as an effective means for screening for salinity tolerance in tomato varieties. Amongst the tomato varieties evaluated were Missouri the most tolerant, and Rio Grande the least tolerant. The results indicate that the varieties best tolerant to NaCl conditions from most to least tolerant in successive orderare: Missouri, followed by Ace, Yaqui, Tropic, Floradade, Feroz, Vita and Rio Grande.

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