Growth and photosynthetic performance were analyzed in alloplasmic tomato at a high- (25/17 °C; HTR) and low-temperature regime (12/6 °C; LTR) in order to establish the role of cytoplasmic variation on low-temperature tolerance of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.). Four alloplasmic tomato lines, containing the nuclear genome of tomato and the plastome of L. hirsutum LA 1777 Humb. & Bonpl., an accession collected at high-altitude in Peru, were reciprocally crossed with 11 tomato entries with a high inbreeding level and a wide genetic variation, resulting in a set of 44 reciprocal crosses. Irrespective of growth temperature, alloplasmic families with alien chloroplasts of L. hirsutum (h) were on average characterized by a high shoot biomass, a large leaf area, and a low specific leaf area in comparison with their euplasmic counterparts. These results do not directly point to an advantageous effect of h-chloroplasts on biomass accumulation at low temperature but rather towards a small general beneficial effect on growth and/or distribution of assimilates. Significant chloroplast-related differences in photosynthetic performance, however, were not detected at both temperature regimes, indicating that h-chloroplasts can properly function in a variable nuclear background of L. esculentum. It is concluded that chloroplast substitution is not an effective method for breeding tomato plants with improved low-temperature tolerance
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