This study investigated the comparative effects of reduced irrigation regimes—partial root-zone drying (PRD) and conventional deficit irrigation (DI)—on the incidence of blossom-end rot (BER) in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) under three Ca-fertilization rates: 0, 100, and 200mg Ca kg–1 soil (denoted Ca0, Ca1, and Ca2, respectively). The plants were grown in split-root pots in a climate-controlled glasshouse and treated with PRD and DI during early flowering to the fruit maturity stage. The results showed that, in comparison with DI treatment, PRD significantly reduced BER incidence. A greater xylem sap abscisic acid concentration, lower stomatal conductance, and higher plant water status in the PRD in relation to the DI plants might have contributed to the increased fruit Ca uptake, and could have reduced BER development in tomato fruits. Therefore, under conditions with limited freshwater resources, application of PRD irrigation could be a promising approach for saving water and for preventing BER development in tomatoes.
Journal of Experimental Botany, 2013, Vol 64, Issue 7, p. 2107-2116