Effects of Air Quality on Growth, Yield, and Quality of Watermelon

in HortScience
Authors:
Richard G. SnyderDepartment of Horticulture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907

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James E. SimonDepartment of Horticulture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907

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Richard A. ReinertDepartment of Horticulture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907

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Michael SiminiDepartment of Horticulture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907

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Gerald E. WilcoxDepartment of Horticulture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907

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Watermelon, Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum & Nakai cv. Sugar Baby, were grown in the field as a fall crop in open-top chambers (OTC) in southwestern Indiana with either charcoal-filtered (CF) or nonfiltered (NF) air. Ozone and sulfur dioxide were continuously monitored in OTC and ambient air. There was a significant decrease in marketable yield by weight (19.9%, P = 0.05), percentage of marketable fruit by number (20.8%, P = 0.10), and total yield by weight (21.5%, P = 0.05) from plants grown in the NF air treatment compared with those grown in CF air. Ozone-induced foliar injury was significantly greater on plants grown under NF conditions. Ambient concentrations of 03 in southwestern Indiana caused foliar injury (P = 0.10) and significant yield loss to a fall crop of watermelons.

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