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Biostimulants to grow tomatoes in high temperature conditions
A thesis of the PhD program in Advanced Techniques in Research and Agricultural and Food Development (TAIDA) of the Polytechnic University of Cartagena (UPCT) has shown that the use of biostimulants improves the performance of tomato plants under high temperature conditions.
The research of the new doctor, Virginia Hernández Pérez, has also concluded that, in certain cases, these techniques help increase the content of bioactive compounds with beneficial health properties.
The thesis, supervised by researchers María del Pilar Flores Fernández-Villamil and María del Pilar Hellín García, from the Department of Sustainability and Quality of the IMIDA, to which the author also belongs, also proposes the optimization of nitrogen nutrition management in order to improve the nutritional quality of the fruit and compensate for the negative effect on the crop's performance of the use of shading mesh to mitigate thermal stress.
Thermal stress usually affects tomato plants in the Region of Murcia, the majority of which are cultivated in greenhouses, and it frequently appears simultaneously with other abiotic conditions, such as the scarcity of water resources and the salinity of soil and water.
"The main objective of this thesis was to learn about the influence of high temperatures on the yield and the quality of tomatoes, focusing on the accumulation of metabolites responsible for the organoleptic and nutritional quality of the fruit," explains the author of the thesis, in which various agronomic strategies to minimise the negative effects of thermal stress were tested, including the management of mineral nutrition, the use of shading nets and the application of biostimulants.
"Tomato plants have a great capacity to adapt to thermal stress conditions, and may even restore the concentrations of the metabolites of interest after long periods of exposure to high temperatures," concludes Virginia Hernández.
Publication date: 8/10/2017
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