J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2020, Vol. 62 ›› Issue (4): 487-508.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12823

Special Issue: Nitrogen uptake and utilization

• Molecular Physiology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Genetic variation in eggplant for Nitrogen Use Efficiency under contrasting NO3- supply

Antonio Mauceri1, Laura Bassolino2, Antonio Lupini1, Franz Badeck3, Fulvia Rizza3, Massimo Schiavi2, Laura Toppino2, Maria R. Abenavoli1, Giuseppe L. Rotino2 and Francesco Sunseri1*   

  1. 1Dipartimento Agraria, Università degli Studi Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria, I‐89124, Reggio Calabria, Italy
    2CREA Centro di ricerca Genomica e Bioinformatica, I‐26836, Montanaso Lombardo, Italy
    3CREA Centro di ricerca Genomica e Bioinformatica, I‐29017, Fiorenzuola d’Arda, Italy

    Email: Francesco Sunseri (francesco.sunseri@unirc.it)
  • Received:2018-12-26 Accepted:2019-05-08 Online:2019-05-14 Published:2020-04-01


Eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) yield is highly sensitive to N fertilization, the excessive use of which is responsible for environmental and human health damage. Lowering N input together with the selection of improved Nitrogen‐Use‐Efficiency (NUE) genotypes, more able to uptake, utilize, and remobilize N available in soils, can be challenging to maintain high crop yields in a sustainable agriculture. The aim of this study was to explore the natural variation among eggplant accessions from different origins, in response to Low (LN) and High (HN) Nitrate (NO3) supply, to identify NUE‐contrasting genotypes and their NUE‐related traits, in hydroponic and greenhouse pot experiments. Two eggplants, AM222 and AM22, were identified as N‐use efficient and inefficient, respectively, in hydroponic, and these results were confirmed in a pot experiment, when crop yield was also evaluated. Overall, our results indicated the key role of N‐utilization component (NUtE) to confer high NUE. The remobilization of N from leaves to fruits may be a strategy to enhance NUtE, suggesting glutamate synthase as a key enzyme. Further, omics technologies will be used for focusing on C‐N metabolism interacting networks. The availability of RILs from two other selected NUE‐contrasting genotypes will allow us to detect major genes/quantitative trait loci related to NUE.

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