Performance of Hylocereus (Cactaceae) species and interspecific hybrids under high-temperature stress

Milena Maria Tomaz de Oliveira, Lu Shuhua, Divya Sravanthi Kumbha, Udi Zurgil, Eran Raveh, Noemi Tel-Zur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


High temperatures limit the successful cultivation of the Hylocereus species on a global basis. We aimed to investigate the degree of heat tolerance in three species, namely, the diploids Hylocereus undatus and H. monacanthus, and the tetraploid H. megalanthus, and nine of their interspecific-interploid hybrids. Rooted cuttings were exposed to heat stress (45/35 °C) or control conditions (25/20 °C) for eight days. Initially, the plants were screened for their tolerance to heat stress and ranked into four heat tolerance categories: good tolerance, moderate tolerance, low tolerance, or sensitive, according to the decrease in the maximum quantum efficiency of photosystem II (Fv/Fm) and visual stem damage. The physiological and biochemical performances of the parental species and of three hybrids representing three different heat-tolerance categories were further analyzed in depth. H. megalanthus (classified as heat sensitive) showed a 65% decrease in Fv/Fm and severe visual stem damage, along with a marked reduction in total chlorophyll content, a large increase in malondialdehyde, and inhibition of catalase activity. H. undatus and H. monacanthus, (classified as low-tolerance species) exhibited slight stem “liquification.” The good-tolerance hybrid Z-16 exhibited the best performance under heat stress (21% decrease in Fv/Fm) and the absence of stem damage, coupled with a small decrease in total chlorophyll content, a slight increase in malondialdehyde, high antioxidant activity, and proline accumulation progressing with time. Our findings revealed that most of the hybrids performed better than their parental species, indicating that our breeding programs can provide Hylocereus cultivars suitable for cultivation in heat-challenging regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-39
Number of pages10
JournalPlant Physiology and Biochemistry
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • Breeding program
  • Heat stress
  • Hybridization
  • Selection program

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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