The effects of salt on the quality of fruits were investigated in order to compare the impact of salt on key fruit properties of the cultivated domesticated tomato species (Solanum lycopersicum) and its wild halophyte relative Solanum chilense.
To this end, cherry tomato plants (S. lycopersicum var. cerasiforme) and from accession LA4107 (S. chilense) were maintained for 112 days in the absence or presence of NaCl (40 and 80 mM) in nutrient solution. Among others, salinity decreased fruit weight and increased total soluble solid (TSS) in S. lycopersicum but not in S. chilense.
The fruit antioxidant capacity estimated by ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) analysis was higher in S. chilense than in S. lycopersicum and increased in the former while it decreased in the latter in response to NaCl. Salinity increased the lycopene (LYC) content but decreased ß-carotene (b-CAR) concentration in the fruits of S. lycopersicum, while these compounds were not detected in the wild halophyte S. chilense.
The oxidative status of salt-treated fruits was more tightly regulated in S. chilense than in S. lycopersicum. The two considered species, however, possess complementary properties and interspecific crosses may therefore be considered as a promising option for the improvement of salt-stress resistance in tomatoes.