SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • Fruit set;
  • male fitness;
  • microgametophyte;
  • pollen;
  • sex allocation;
  • soil fertility;
  • tomato

Abstract

The effects of mycorrhizal infection, soil P availability and fruit production on the male function of reproduction were examined in two cultivars of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.). Tomato plants were grown in a greenhouse under three treatment combinations: non-mycorrhizal, low P (NMPO); non-mycorrhizal, high P (NMP3); and mycorrhizal, low P (MPO). In addition, all treatment combinations were grown both with and without fruit. Fruit production decreased final leaf biomass, flower production and in vitro pollen tube growth rates, often reducing the beneficial effects of increased P uptake. Thus, fruit production diverted resources from subsequent vegetative growth, flower production and pollen development. As the growing season progressed, mean pollen production per flower and in vitro germination and tube growth decreased. Mycorrhizal infection and high soil P conditions increased final leaf biomass, flower production, mean pollen production per flower (in one cultivar) and in vitro pollen tube growth rates. Thus, mycorrhizal infection and high soil P conditions increased pollen quantity and quality, thereby enhancing fitness through the male function. Similar trends in these treatments suggested that mycorrhizal effects on the male function were largely the result of improved P acquisition.