Tomato Phenotypic Diversity Determined by Combined Approaches of Conventional and High-Throughput Tomato Analyzer Phenotyping

Plants (Basel). 2020 Feb 5;9(2):197. doi: 10.3390/plants9020197.


Morphological variation in vegetative and fruit traits is a key determinant in unraveling phenotypic diversity. This study was designed to assess phenotypic diversity in tomatoes and examine intra- and intervarietal groups' variability using 28 conventional descriptors (CDs) and 47 Tomato Analyzer (TA) descriptors related to plant and fruit morphometry. Comprehensive phenotyping of 150 accessions representing 21 countries discerned noticeable variability for CD vegetative traits and TA quantified fruit features, such as shape, size, and color. Hierarchical cluster analysis divided the accessions into 10 distinct classes based on fruit shape and size. Multivariate analysis was used to assess divergence in variable traits among populations. Eight principal components with an eigenvalue >1 were identified by factor analysis, which contributed 87.5% variation to the total cumulative variance with the first two components contributing 32.0% and 18.1% variance, respectively. The relationship between vegetative and fruit descriptors was explained by respective CD and TA correlation networks. There was a strong positive correlation between fruit shape and size whereas negative correlations were between fruit shape index, internal eccentricity, and proximal end shape. The combined approach of CD and TA phenotyping allowed us to unravel the phenotypic diversity of vegetative and reproductive trait variation evaluated at pre- and post-harvest stages.

Keywords: Bulgarian tomato; Tomato Analyzer; conventional phenotyping; data visualization; fruit diversity; fruit morphometric and colorimetric traits; high-throughput fruit phenomics; tomato genetic variability.