Heirloom tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum L.) such as 'Cuore di Bue' are highly appreciated by consumers for their outstanding quality and flavour. Nowadays, they are often grafted onto vigorous rootstocks in order to overcome several soil-borne diseases. The present study was conducted in 2007 and 2008 in Southern Italy. Plants of 'Cuore di Bue', an heirloom 'oxheart' tomato, were grown in a greenhouse either as non-grafted plants, or grafted onto two interspecific (S. lycopersicum × S. habrochaites) rootstocks ('Beaufort F1' and 'Maxifort F1') in order to evaluate their effects on vegetative growth, marketable yield, fruit quality, and the sensory properties of 'Cuore di Bue' tomato fruit. Growth analysis revealed that 'Maxifort F1' enhanced plant growth, particularly in terms of leaf area and leaf fresh weight. Grafted plants had higher leaf area ratios (by 13%) and higher leaf dry weight fractions (by 18%) compared to non-grafted 'Cuore di Bue' plants. Marketable yields increased by 20 - 25% in grafted plants in both years. However, total soluble solids (TSS) contents, titratable acidity (TA), and TSS/TA ratios were not significantly affected by grafting.Vitamin C contents decreased by 14 - 20% in both years in the fruit of plants grafted onto either rootstock. The sensory profiles of fruit were not modified by grafting, although taste panelists expressed a higher preference for purchasing fruit from plants grafted onto 'Maxifort F1'. These results confirm that, when using the appropriate rootstock/scion combination, grafting can improve plant growth and the marketable yield of heirloom tomato fruit without reducing the sensory quality of the fruit or its biochemical parameters. However, grafting can reduce vitamin C contents and, thus, nutritional quality.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology|
|State||Published - Nov 1 2010|
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