(8) Supplemental Potassium Source and Processing Tomato Quality

in HortScience
Authors:
Christopher Gunter1Purdue University, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Southwest Purdue Ag. Program, Vincennes, IN, 47501

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David Francis2The Ohio State University, Horticulture and Crop Sciences, OARDC, Wooster, OH, 44691

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Alba Clivati McIntyre2The Ohio State University, Horticulture and Crop Sciences, OARDC, Wooster, OH, 44691

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Yellow shoulder disorder (YSD) is a physiological disorder of processing tomato that affects both the appearance and nutritional quality of the fruit. This disorder reduces the suitability of fruit intended for the whole-peeled and diced product markets. The YSD involves an interaction between plant genotype and the environment. A number of soil factors have been related to the incidence of YSD, including organic matter, phosphorous, K/Mg ratios, and soil K. Varieties of tomatoes differ in their susceptibility to color disorders, thus variety selection offers growers one strategy to manage this color disorder. The use of supplemental K application at a time when plants are blooming and actively growing offers a second strategy for management of YSD. To this end, a field study was conducted at the Southwest Purdue Agricultural Program in southwestern Indiana to study the effects of different sources of K on the color and quality of tomato fruit. Potassium chloride, potassium nitrate, and potassium sulfate were applied at first flowering in a solid, broadcast application. Appropriate controls were used to balance the nutrients supplied in addition to K. Supplemental K, regardless of source, improved fruit hue, though the trend was not always statistically significant between treatments. Variety specific effects were observed. This is a complex disorder and its management will entail minimizing risk of incidence through careful selection of variety and field location.

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