Genotype-dependent responses of apples to drought stress were evaluated between commercial and traditional apple cultivars. The results indicate different mechanisms of tolerance to investigated drought stress conditions. Chlorophyll fluorescence induction (OJIP) parameters, chlorophyll and carotenoid content, malondialdehyde (MDA), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), proline, phenols and leaf water content (WC) were measured. The traditional cultivar "Crvenka" confirmed the best tolerance to a drought stress condition, presenting higher photosynthetic efficiency, higher leaf water content, higher levels of chlorophyll content and lower lipid peroxidation with greater membrane stability. The commercial cultivar "Golden Delicious Reinders" showed decreased water content in leaves, increased lipid peroxidation levels and photoinhibition. Considering all results, the commercial cultivar "Golden Delicious Reinders" was adversely affected by drought, while traditional cultivars exhibited better tolerance to drought stress.
Keywords: OJIP test; chlorophyll; lipid peroxidation; photosynthesis; proline; water content.