Pepino Dulce (Solanum muricatum Ait.) Quality Characteristics Respond to Nitrogen Nutrition and Salinity

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Faculty of Agriculture, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, 76100, Israel

The effect of fertigation with N-NO3 at 3, 6, or 12 mmol·liter-1, and 0, 3, or 6 dS·m-1 chloride ions on fruit quality of three pepino dulce selections was studied. Genotypes varied considerably in their response to mineral treatments in most quality characteristics. Variation in fruit size was greatly reduced when clusters were thinned to three fruit. Increasing chloride concentration in the nutrient soltuion reduced fruit size significantly and ascorbic acid concentration relative to the control, but fruit shape was not affected. Increases in NaCl salt, but not N concentration, resulted in significantly higher soluble solids concentration (SSC) and firmness in all three genotypes. Electrical conductivity, acidity, and pH were significantly affected by the two mineral treatments in the first trial, but remained unchanged in the second season. Fruit firmness, SSC, and acidity declined by 12% to 30%, whereas ascorbic acid content increased during 14 days storage at room temperature. These changes depended on genotype and environment during fruit growth and development. Organoleptic ratings were highest in salt-treated plants. Fruit quality of pepino dulce may be manipulated by crop management, thus improving its acceptability in Western markets.

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