Field Testing of Tomato Chilling Tolerance under Varying Light and Temperature Conditions

Rafael Elizondo1, and Eduardo Oyanedel1*

Chilling tolerance is a desirable trait in commercial tomato varieties, in order to extend the growing season and geographic range. Two Nearly Isogenic Lines (NILs) with introgressions in chromosome 2 and 3 of Solanum habrochaites S. Knapp & D.M. Spooner, a cold-resistant wild tomato, were evaluated in the field. Four plantings were established between 21 August and 2 October 2006 (day 232 and 274). Throughout the experiment the heat sum was interpreted using air temperature to calculate growing degree days (base 12 °C) and chilling hours (below 12 °C), with the daily light integral calculated as global solar radiation. The relative post-transplant growth rate, fruit set and yield, were evaluated over two successive 10-d periods. Chilling tolerance is expressed under high radiation and low temperature conditions, which occurred during the 10-d post-transplant evaluation period beginning on day 257, when both NILs achieved a leaf area growth rate 1.7 times higher than the control plants. During the second evaluation period, 10-20 d post-transplant, both NILs grew on average, 1.4 times more than the control. There were no significant differences in earliness or fruit set. These NILs should not be used as a direct source to obtain chilling tolerant varieties, because of the low fruit set, 84% lower in LA3921 than the control, probably due to linkage drag and poor environmental adaptability in both lines.

Keywords: Linkage drag, Solanum habrochaites, NILs
1Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Facultad de Agronomía, Casilla 4-D, Quillota, Chile. *Corresponding author (eoyanede@ucv.cl).