Hilgardia
Hilgardia
Hilgardia
University of California
Hilgardia

Anatomical aspects of blossom-end rot in the tomato with special reference to calcium nutrition

Author

Arthur R. Spurr

Author Affiliations

Arthur R. Spurr was Associate Professor of Vegetable Crops and Associate Olericulturist in the Experiment Station, Davis.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 28(12):269-295. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v28n12p269. February 1959.

PDF of full article, Cite this article

Abstract

This report of the general symptoms of blossom-end rot in the tomato describes in detail the anatomical aspects of the disorder. The inception of the rot was observed in field-grown San Marzano tomatoes in relation to the age and development of the fruit. Incipient stages of the rot occurred about 10 to 15 days after anthesis when the fruit was from 38 to 60 per cent full grown in length. During this phase of fruit development the increments of growth in length are very large in relation to the size of the fruit. In general, affected fruits are retarded in length growth.

The externally visible and the deep-seated symptoms of the rot may occur separately or together in the same fruit at the distal end. The symptoms involve a progressive necrosis of the tissue with subsequent partial dehydration of the affected area. Variations in the lesions are described. The highest incidence of the rot involved over 55 per cent of the fruit.

The first indication of the externally visible lesions is the development of brown proteinaceous inclusions in the epidermal and more deepseated cells of the pericarp. These necrotic cells may collapse and a wound healing response is usually evoked in the adjacent living tissue. Cells showing a wounding response may become necrotic, thus extending the lesion.

Light-yellow to brown proteinaceous inclusions also occur in the cells of the deep-seated lesions, particularly in parenchyma cells associated with the vascular bundles of the placental axis. The cells of affected fruits are often glutted with starch grains. No histological evidence was found to support the view that water stress is a primary cause of the disorder.

Calcium analysis of the fruit confirms earlier reports that the calcium content of the fruit as a whole is low. The distal end of the fruit, the site of blossom-end rot, is particularly low in calcium. Histological and cytological observations of normal and affected fruits are in agreement with some earlier reports on calcium deficiency in the tomato and other plants. This study implicates calcium deficiency in the fruit as the basic cause of blossom-end rot.

Literature Cited

American Soc. Agronomy. Hunger signs in crops 1949. 2d ed. Wash., D.C.

Ansiaux Jacques R. Symptomes provoques chez la tomate par une double carence cationique. Acad. Roy. Belgique, Bul. Cl. Sci. 1956. 42:664-75.

Bamford Ronald. Changes in root tips of wheat and corn grown in nutrient solutions deficient in calcium. Torrey Bot. Club Bul. 1931. 58:149-78. DOI: 10.2307/2480723 [CrossRef]

Bewley W. F. Diseases of glasshouse plants. 1923. London: Ernest Benn, Ltd. 208p. DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7348.1921.tb05530.x [CrossRef]

Boehm Joseph. Über den vegetabilischen Nahrwerth der Kalksalze. Sitzungsber. Akad. Wiss. Wien, Math.-Nat. KI. Abt. 1. 1875. 71:287-304.

Bolle-Jones E. W. The interrelationships of iron and potassium in the potato plant. Plant and Soil. 1955. 6:129-73. DOI: 10.1007/BF01343445 [CrossRef]

Brady N. C. The effect of period of calcium supply and mobility of calcium in the plant on peanut fruit filling. Soil Sci. Soc. Amer. Proc. 1947. 12:336-41.

Brooks Charles. Blossom-end rot of tomatoes. Phytopathology. 1914. 4:345-74.

Brown J. G., Patten C. G., Gardner M. E., Jackson R. K. A line operated photomultiplier unit for measuring spectral emissions in flame analysis. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. Proc. 1952. 59:337-42.

Burström Hans. Studies on growth and metabolism of roots. VIII. Calcium as a growth factor. Physiol. Plantarum. 1952. 5:391-402.

Chamberlain E. E. Blossom-end rot of tomatoes. New Zealand Jour. Agr. 1933. 46:293-96.

Colwell W. E., Brady N. C. The effect of calcium on yield and quality of large-seeded type peanuts. Amer. Soc. Agron. Jour. 1945. 37:413-28.

Cooper Delmer C. Anatomy and development of tomato flower. Bot. Gaz. 1927. 83:399-411. DOI: 10.1086/333747 [CrossRef]

Davis Donald E. Some effects of calcium deficiency on the anatomy of Pinus taeda. Amer. Jour. Bot. 1949. 36:276-82.

Diotallevi Z., Goidànich G., Marimpietri L. Il “marciume apicale” del pomodora “San Marzano.”. Italia Agric. 1947. 84:637-43.

Evans H. J., Troxler R. V. Relation of calcium nutrition to the incidence of blossom-end rot in tomatoes. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. Proc. 1953. 61:346-52.

Fink Hanneliese. Experimentelle Untersuchungen über die Wirkung des Nährsalzmangels auf die Mitose der Wurzelspitzen von Vici faba. Chromosoma. 1950. 3:510-66.

Fisher Paul L. Responses of the tomato in solution cultures with deficiencies and excesses of certain essential elements. Maryland Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 1935. 375:283-98.

Florell Cirl. The influence of calcium on root mitochondria. Physiol. Plantarum. 1956. 9:236-42.

Foster A. C. Effect of environment on metabolism of tomato plants as related to development of blossom-end rot of the fruit. Phytopathology. 1939. 29:7 (Abst.)

Galloway B. T. Notes on black-rot of the tomato 1888. U. S. Dept. Agr. Rpt. 339-46.

Gardner Max W. Necrosis, hyperplasia, and adhesions in mosaic tomato fruits. Jour. Agr. Res. 1925. 30:871-88.

Gauch Hugh G., Dugger W. M. Jr. The physiological action of boron in higher plants: A review and interpretation. Maryland Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 1954. A-80:1-43.

Geraldson C. M. The use of calcium for control of blossom-end rot of tomatoes. Florida State Hort. Soc. Proc. 1955. 68:197-202.

Geraldson C. M. Controlling blossom-end rot of tomatoes. Market Growers Jour. 1956. 85:12-13. 22.

Geraldson C. M. Factors affecting calcium nutrition of celery, tomato, and pepper. Soil Sci. Soc. Proc. 1957a. 21:621-25. DOI: 10.2136/sssaj1957.03615995002100060013x [CrossRef]

Geraldson C. M. Control of blossom-end rot of tomatoes. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. Proc. 1957b. 69:309-17.

Geraldson C. M., Spencer E. L., Jorgensen M. C. Chemical analysis as a tool in determining nutritional factors affecting tomato quality. Florida State Hort. Soc. Proc. 1954. 67:123-27.

Groth B. H. Alfred. Structures of tomato skins. New Jersey Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 1910. 228:1-20.

Gustafson Felix G. Growth studies on fruits. Plant Physiology. 1926. 1:265-72. DOI: 10.1104/pp.1.3.265 [CrossRef]

Gustafson Felix G. Growth studies on fruits and explanation of the shape of the growth curve. Plant Physiology. 1927a. 2:153-61. DOI: 10.1104/pp.2.2.153 [CrossRef]

Gustafson Felix G. Growth studies on fruits, chemical analyses of tomato fruits. Papers Michigan Acad. Sci., Arts and Letters. 1927b. 8:121-27.

Gustafson Felix G., Houghtaling Helen B. Relation between fruit size and food supply in the tomato. Plant Physiology. 1939. 14:321-32. DOI: 10.1104/pp.14.2.321 [CrossRef]

Hewitt Wm. B. Leaf-scar infection in relation to the olive-knot disease. Hilgardia. 1938. 12:41-66.

Hoffman Ira C. The relation between water deficiency and blossom-end rot of tomatoes 1937. (Abst. of Doctor’s Dissertations, No. 24) Ohio State University Press.

Hoffman Ira C. Effects of different amounts of soil moisture on growth and fruiting of greenhouse tomatoes. Market Growers Jour. 1953. 82:20 22, 24-26, 28.

Höfler Karl. Einige Nekrosen bei Färbung mit Akridinorange. Sitzungsber. Akad. Wiss. Wien, Math.-Nat. KI Abt. I. 1947. 156:585-644.

Houghtaling Helen B. A developmental analysis of size and shape in tomato fruits. Torrey Bot. Club Bul. 1935. 62:243-52. DOI: 10.2307/2480834 [CrossRef]

Jumelet A., van Koot Y. Factoren, die het optreden van neusrot bij tomaat bepalen. Tijdschr. Plantenziekten. 1945. 51:93-115. DOI: 10.1007/BF01998267 [CrossRef]

Kalra Gajindar S. Responses of the tomato plant to calcium deficiency. Bot. Gaz. 1956. 118:18-37. DOI: 10.1086/335924 [CrossRef]

Kitchen H. B. Diagnostic techniques for soils and crops. 1948. Wash. D.C.: American Potash Institute.

Küster Ernst. Pathologische Pflanzenanatomie. 1925. Jena: Gustav Fisher.

Leopold A. C., Guernsey Frances S. The effect of nitrogen upon fruit abnormalities in the tomato. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. Proc. 1953. 61:333-38.

Lutman B. F. Cell size and structure in plants as affected by various inorganic elements. Vermont Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 1934. 383:1-54.

Lyon C. B., Beeson K. C., Barrentine M. Macro-element nutrition of the tomato plant as correlated with fruitfulness and occurrence of blossom-end rot. Bot. Gaz. 1942. 103:651-67. DOI: 10.1086/335085 [CrossRef]

Lyon C. B., Garcia C. R. Anatomical responses of tomato stems to variations in the macronutrient cation supply. Bot. Gaz. 1944. 105:441-56. DOI: 10.1086/335254 [CrossRef]

MacGillivray John H. Effect of phosphorus on the composition of the tomato fruit. Jour. Agr. Res. 1927. 34:97-127.

Mack W. B., Stout G. J. The effect of nutrients on the water relations of tomato plants. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. Proc. 1934. 32:536-40.

Maynard Donald N., Barham Warren S., McCombs C. L. The effect of calcium nutrition of tomatoes as related to the incidence and severity of blossom-end rot. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. Proc. 1957. 69:318-22.

McIlrath Wayne J. Growth responses of tomato to nutrient ions adsorbed on a pumice substrate. Plant Physiology. 1950. 25:682-701. DOI: 10.1104/pp.25.4.682 [CrossRef]

Michailowa P. V. Pathologico—anatomical changes in the tomato incident to development of woodiness of the fruit. Phytopathology. 1935. 25:539-58.

Mullison Wendell B., Mullison Ethel. Effects of several plant growth-regulators on fruit set, yield and blossom-end rot of six tomato varieties grown under high temperatures. Bot. Gaz. 1948. 109:501-06. DOI: 10.1086/335499 [CrossRef]

Murray Mary A. Carpellary and placental structure in the Solanaceae. Bot. Gaz. 1945. 107:243-60. DOI: 10.1086/335344 [CrossRef]

Needham Joseph. Chemical embryology, vol. 1. 1931. New York: The Macmillan Co. p. 399-405.

Nightingale G. T., Addoms B. M., Bobbins W. R., Schermerhorn L. G. Effects of calcium deficiency on nitrate absorption and on metabolism in tomato. Plant Physiology. 1931. 6:605-30. DOI: 10.1104/pp.6.4.605 [CrossRef]

Plowright Charles B. On the fungoid diseases of the tomato. Gard. Chronicle [London]. 1881. 16:620-22.

Raleigh G. J. Fruit abnormalities of tomatoes grown in various culture solutions. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. Proc. 1939. 37:895-900.

Raleigh S. M., Chucka J. A. Effect of nutrient ratio and concentration on growth and composition of tomato plants and on the occurrence of blossom-end rot of the fruit. Plant Physiology. 1944. 19:671-78.

Reed Howard S. The value of certain nutritive elements to the plant cell. Ann. Bot. [London]. 1907. 21:501-43.

Reynolds Ernest S. Two tomato diseases. Phytopathology. 1918. 8:535-42.

Bobbins W. Rei. Relation of nutrient salt concentration to growth of the tomato and to the incidence of blossom-end rot of the fruit. Plant Physiology. 1937. 12:21-50.

Schimper A. F. W. Zur Frage der Assimilation der Mineralsalze durch die grüne Pflanze. Flora. 1890. 73:207-61.

Schreven D. A. van. De gezondheidstoestand van de aaradappelplant onder den invloed van twaalf elementen. 1939. Wageningen: H. Veenman and Zonen.

Seaton H. L., Gray G. F. Histological study of tissues from greenhouse tomatoes affected by blotchy ripening. Jour. Agr. Res. 1936. 52:217-24.

Selby Augustine D. Investigations of plant diseases in forcing house and garden. Ohio Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 1896. 73:221-46.

Smith Elizabeth H. The blossom end rot of tomatoes. Massachusetts Agr. Exp. Sta. Tech. Bul. 1907. 3:3-19.

Smith Ora. Pollination and life-history studies of the tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.). Cornell Univ. Agr. Exp. Sta. Mem. 1935. 184:1-16.

Sorokin Helen, Sommer Anna L. Changes in the cells and tissues of root tips induced by the absence of calcium. Amer. Jour. Bot. 1929. 16:23-39. DOI: 10.2307/2435694 [CrossRef]

Sorokin Helen, Sommer Anna L. Effect of calcium deficiency upon the roots of Pisum sativum. Amer. Jour. Bot. 1940. 27:308-18.

Spencer Ernest L., Beckenbach J. R. Blossom-end rot of tomatoes. Florida Agr. Exp. Sta. Cir. 1949. S-6:1-7.

Spurr Arthur R. The effect of boron on cell wall structure in celery. Amer. Jour. Bot. 1957. 44:637-50. DOI: 10.2307/2438627 [CrossRef]

Stout G. J. Influence of watering treatment on the occurrence of blossom-end rot in greenhouse tomatoes. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. Proc. 1934. 32:515-18.

Struckmeyer B. Esther. Effect of alpha-naphthalene acetamide upon the anatomical structure of cockle-bur grown in a nutrient medium deficient in calcium. Bot. Gaz. 1949. 111:130-39.

Stuckey H. P., Temple J. C. Tomatoes: Part II. Blossom-end rot. Georgia Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 1911. 96:69-91.

Venning Frank D. The influence of major mineral nutrient deficiencies on growth and tissue differentiation in the hypocotyl of Marglobe tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. Phytomorphology. 1953. 3:315-26.

Venning Frank D. The reciprocal effects between calcium and phosphate ions upon the growth, composition, and structure of castor bean Ricinus communis L. Washington Acad. Sci. Jour. 1954. 44:65-82.

Walsh Thomas, Clarke Edward J. On some nutritional factors in relation to blossom-end rot of tomato fruit. Roy. Irish Acad. Sect. B Proc. 1945. 50:227-36.

Whitehead C. Tomato disease (Cladosporium lycopersici). Agriculture (Jour. Board of Agriculture, London). 1896. 3:154-57.

Wilson J. D., Runnels H. A. Some detrimental effects of spraying tomatoes with Bordeaux mixture. Ohio Agr. Exp. Sta. Bimonthly Bul. 1933. 18:4-15.

Wilson J. D., Runnels H. A. Influence of Bordeaux and oil sprays on the daily curve of transpiration. Ohio Agr. Exp. Sta. Bimonthly Bul. 1934. 19:179-86.

Wuhrmann Karl. Der Einflusz von Neutralsalzen auf das Streckungswachstum der Avena Koleoptile. Protoplasma. 1937. 29:361-93.

Young P. A. Varietal resistance to blossom-end rot in tomatoes. Phytopathology. 1942. 32:214-20.

Zirkle C. Amines in cytological fixing fluids. Protoplasma. 1934. 20:473-82. DOI: 10.1007/BF02674843 [CrossRef]

Spurr A. 1959. Anatomical aspects of blossom-end rot in the tomato with special reference to calcium nutrition. Hilgardia 28(12):269-295. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v28n12p269
Webmaster Email: wsuckow@ucanr.edu