The Pepino (Solarium muricatum Ait.): An Alternative Crop for Areas Affected by Moderate Salinity

in HortScience

Three clonal hybrids of pepino and their six parental clones were grown in a greenhouse at two salinity levels, 3 and 8 dS·m-1, and two K levels, 246 and 492 mg·L-1. Nearly all the clones maintained high yields even at 8 dS·m-1. Hybrids were highly productive and were more salt-tolerant than their parental clones. In the majority of clones, salinity shortened mean time to harvest by more than 10 days. Salinity also increased organoleptic quality of pepino fruit, mainly due to the increase in soluble solids concentration (SSC). Potassium had little effect on yield and on organoleptic characteristics, although the yield of the less-productive clones appears to be affected by the high level of K (492 mg·L-1). Our results suggest that the pepino could be an alternative crop in areas where only moderately saline water is available, since it is possible to maintain crop productivity while improving its organoleptic quality—the latter being a key issue for its acceptability in European and U.S. markets.

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