Document Type: Research Paper
Instituto de Conservación y Mejora de la Agrodiversidad Valenciana, Universidad Politècnica de Valencia, Camino de Vera 14, 46022 Valencia, Spain.
Eggplant (Solanum melongena) is amenable to grafting and this technique can be exploited to improve production of this vegetable crop. Here, we study the performance of the ‘Cristal F1’ eggplant cultivar grafted onto a total of 17 rootstocks, including five families, each of which is made by two parents and their hybrid, as well a commercial eggplant rootstock and a self-grafted control. Three families consist of eggplant rootstocks, including a S. melongena intraspecific family and two interspecific families of S. melongena with S. incanum and S. aethiopicum. Two other families are made of interspecific hybrids between tomato (S. lycopersicum) and S. habrochaites. Overall, eggplant rootstocks showed a good compatibility and graft success, while tomato rootstocks had a poor compatibility and only S. habrochaites rootstocks could be evaluated for yield and fruit production. Important differences were found for susceptibility to nematodes, with some
S. melongena accessions showing the best results. Eggplant hybrids were intermediate to their parents in nematode resistance and tomato rootstocks proved to be very susceptible to nematodes. Yield, fruit number and earliness were higher in the most vigorous rootstocks, in particular in the S. melongena × S. aethiopicum hybrid. Good performance was also observed for some S. melongena accessions, but poor results were obtained when using S. incanum, S. aethiopicum and S. habrochaites rootstocks. Some differences were observed for fruit size and shape among the different rootstocks, but for the best rootstocks no differences of commercial relevance were apparent. The results suggest that
S. melongena germplasm and both intraspecific and interspecific eggplant hybrids seem to be promising materials for developing new rootstocks for eggplant production.