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Gerardo Lopez, Romeo R. Favreau, Colin Smith and Theodore M. DeJong

L-PEACH is a computer-based model that simulates the growth of peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] trees. The model integrates important concepts related to carbon assimilation, distribution, and use in peach trees. It also includes modeling of the responses to horticultural practices such as tree pruning and fruit thinning. While running L-PEACH, three-dimensional (3D) depictions of simulated growing trees can be displayed on the computer screen and the user can easily interact with the model. Quantitative data generated during a simulation can be saved to a file or printed for visualization and analysis. L-PEACH is a powerful tool for understanding how peach trees function in the field environment, and it can be used as an innovative method for dissemination of knowledge related with carbohydrate assimilation and partitioning. In this study, we describe the version of L-PEACH that runs on a daily time-step (L-PEACH-d) and how users can run the model and interact with it. To demonstrate how L-PEACH-d works, different pruning and fruit thinning strategies were analyzed. Regarding pruning, model outputs showed 3D depictions of unpruned trees and pruned trees trained to a perpendicular V system. For the fruit thinning studies, we simulated different intensities and dates of fruit thinning in mature peach trees. Total simulated yield increased with crop load but the opposite was observed for average fruit weight. An optimal balance between simulated total yield and average fruit weight was obtained by leaving 150 fruit per tree. Simulating different dates of fruit thinning indicated that fruit weight at harvest was higher on earlier compared with later-thinned trees. The model indicates that fruit thinning should be therefore carried out early in the season to maximize fruit size. The simulation results demonstrate that L-PEACH-d can be used as an educational tool and facilitate the adoption of suitable cultural practices for efficient production.

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Roney Ballinas-Cano, Javie Farias-Larios, Mario Orozco-Santos, J. Gerardo López-Aguirre* and Emilio Sánchez-Arevalo

Soil solarization is used for soil born pathogens control, as a result of temperature increase in soil, around 10 °C higher than in not solarized soils. In Mexico, is mostly used to decrease cost to control of different diseases that affect to melon crop, one of them is caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. melonis (L & C) Snyder & Hansen, which is characterized by wilt and yellowing in melon plants. The objective of this assay was to evaluate the effect of heat on infective capacity of F. oxysporum f. sp. melonis in melon plants and its reproduction capacity after to be under different periods of heat under laboratory conditions. Isolated was taken from melon plants from Carmelitas Ranch in the Colima Municipality. Inoculation was 1 × 10-6 conidia concentration. Cloth bags, with 20 g of inoculated soil, were introduced at 9 cm depth in metallic pots (16 cm diameter and 18 cm depth) containing 4 kg of not inoculated soil during 24, 48, 72, 96, and 120 h, with 6 replications. After each period, 1 g was taken from the cloth bags used in heat treatments, later was diluted in 50 mL of distillated water, and petri dishes containing PDA, were inoculated with 1 mL from that dilution and inoculum viability was registered at 96 h after incubation. Parameters evaluated were: mycelium growth, propagule number, and conidia number. Results showed a positive effect to control of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. melonis, in treatments with a higher heat period, respecting to the control. Is necessary to evaluate this technique under field conditions during summer season.

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Mario Orozco-Santos, Javier Farias-Larios, J. Gerardo López-Aguirre*, Emilio Sánchez-Arévalo and Jaime Molina-Ochoa

In Central Pacific region, Mexico, are cultivated around 17,000 ha of cucurbitaceous. This crops are affected by wilt, this disease is caused by Fusarium oxysporum (F.o.) Schlechtend. Some farmers are using resistant varieties to this disease, but resistance is different to each cultivar. Soil fumigation is other way to control this pathogen. Soil solarization is a new alternative for Fusarium oxysporum control. The objective of this research was to evaluate the effect of soil solarization on Fusarium oxysporum for wilt control in muskmelon crop in Colima State. The experiment was carried out under field conditions, using Cantaloupe melon (Cucumis melo L.) Cv. Ovation, in Ixtla-huacán municipality during November-December. Clear plastic was used (thickness 110). Evaluation of solarization periods were 0, 10, 20, and 30 days. Experimental design was full random blocks, with four replications. Evaluated variables were: soil temperature at 5-,10-, and 20-cm soil depth, propagule number of Fusarium oxysporum in soil, wilt incidence and yield. For determine Fusarium oxysporum survival, a strain isolated from infected plants was used. Fungi was introduced in cloth bags, containing 10 gr of sterile sand with 10 mL of a suspension of 19,000 conidia/mL. Later were introduced four cloth bags per treatment at 5-,10-, and 20-cm soil depth. When plants were harvested, was taken the sick plants percentage. Results shown that soil solarization periods had not an effect on the propagule number at the soil depth for the solarization periods. Also soil solarization had not and effect on plant yield. Is necessary to do the same experiment during different season, as June-July or September-October, to have a higher soil temperature and humidity.

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Raul Leonel Grijalva-Contreras*, Eduardo Liñeiro-Celaya, Gerardo Araiza-Celaya, Victor Salvador-Rivas and Francisco Lopez-Vilchez

The agricultural activity in Caborca, Sonora, depends on fruit trees and vegetable production, and the main crops are grapes, olive, and asparagus. However, is necessary to evaluate other vegetables. An alternative is the green snap beans production. This vegetable can be harvested during the last week of November, when, good prices aare available in the market. The objective of this experiment was to evaluate seven green snap beans varieties with round pod. The experiment was on 24 Aug. The density used was 20 seeds per meter (about 60 kg·ha-1). The experiment was carried out during 2001 with commercial growers. The date of sow was distance between beds was 2.0 m and we used two rows with 36 cm of separation. In our experiment, we used a drip irrigation system. The first harvest was 67 days after the date sowing and it was for 28 days with seven cuttings. The varieties with more yield were Festina, Mercury, and Castaño with 771, 632 and 558 boxes/ha, (30 pounds/box), respectively. The control variety (Savannah) yielded only 345 boxes/ha. The pod quality distribution was 26%, 32%, 50%, and 15% for classification 1, 2, 3, and no commercial value respectively. The Savannah variety was the best pod color (dark green) and more yield during the last cutting. None of the varieties evaluated had problems of pest and diseases.

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Mario Orozco-Santos, Javier Farías-Larios, Jaime Molina-Ochoa and José Gerardo López-Aguirre

Melon wilt (MW) is one of the main diseases affecting the cucurbitaceous crops in the Pacific Central region of Mexico. The use of resistant varieties is the most effective strategy to reduce the damage caused by MW; however, variety performance depends on the fungal race occurring in the field. The use of fungicides, such as benzimidazols and methyl bromide, is a common practice, but there are contamination concerns, and a search is on for alternatives to diminish the negative effects on the agro-ecosystem. The aim was to determine the effect of the application of soil amendments and mulching on the incidence of MW, and on melon yield. Soil amendments incorporated were: rice straw (3 t·ha-1); compost 1, prepared with chicken and bovine manure, and banana and orange wastes (5.7 t·ha-1); compost 2, prepared with bovine and horse manure, coconut wastes and grasses (8 t·ha-1), vermicompost (3 t·ha-1), and a control. All treatments were established using transparent mulching during 21 days. The number of MW propagules in amended soils were similar at 5, 10, and 20 cm deep, but the percentage of diseased plants was higher (4.5%) in the control, which could be caused by the incidence of other fungi propagules, perhaps antagonistic, that contributed in diminishing the MW when compared with the control. The fruit weights and fruit sizes were not different between treatments on small (21–30 sizes), medium (15–18 sizes), and large (9–12 sizes), but total fruit numbers were 1.15-, 1.07-, 0.99-, and 1.09-fold higher when compared with the control. The application of soil amendments affected the antagonistic fungal populations even when it did not affect the cantaloupe yield. We suggest that soil amendments will improve soil fertility and increase melon yields, and studies are currently running.

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Mario Orozco-Santos, Javier Farías-Larios, José Gerardo López-Aguirre and Jaime Molina-Ochoa

In the Pacific Central region of Mexico, 17,000 ha are cultivated with cucurbitaceous crops. Most are affected with wilt caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. melonis. The use of fungicides, such as methyl bromide, for soil disinfecting is a common practice; however, this practice has adverse effects on beneficial microorganisms, and soil is rapidly infected again. Soil solarization is a sustainable alternative, and it is feasible to be integrated in production systems. It has been used to delay the establishment of symptoms and to reduce the incidence of fusarium wilt in watermelon fields. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of soil solarization and methyl bromide on control of fusarium wilt on cantaloupes in western Mexico. The experiment was conducted in the Ranch Fatima located in the municipality of Colima. Severe wilt incidence and damage were previously observed in the cantaloupe cultivar Impac. Dripping irrigation system was used. Treatments established were: 1) solarization; 2) solarization + vermicompost; 3) solarization + chemical products [methyl bromide + chloropicrine (98/2%)]; 4) methyl bromide; and 5) control (without solarization or chemicals). Soil solarization was done during the 6 months before planting using clear plastic mulching (110 thick). A completely randomized design with five treatments and four replications was used. Six beds, 10 m long and 1.5 m wide, were used as experimental unit. Variables registered were: leaf area, leaf number, dry and fresh weight, propagule number, soil temperature, number of diseased plants showing wilt symptoms, and yield. Treatments 1 and 3 exhibited the highest agronomic variable values, and best control of fusarium wilt and fruit yields.

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Xavier Vallverdu, Joan Girona, Gemma Echeverria, Jordi Marsal, M. Hossein Behboudian and Gerardo Lopez

Deficit irrigation (DI) applied during Stage II of fruit development has the potential of improving fruit quality in peach (Prunus persica). Existing information only covers instrumental assessment of quality. No report is available on how sensory attributes and consumer acceptance are affected. We applied DI at Stage II to ‘Tardibelle’ peach and evaluated fruit composition, sensory attributes, and consumer acceptance during the growing seasons of 2009 and 2010. Results were compared with those from trees that received conventional irrigation (CI). Stem water potential in DI trees was indicative of a moderate water stress during Stage II. In 2010, water stress persisted at the beginning of Stage III and average fruit weight was reduced in DI trees. A panel of trained judges decided that DI increased sweetness, juiciness, and the intensity of peach flavor but it reduced fruit firmness and crispness. A panel of consumers indicated increased preference for DI fruit. The higher appeal for DI fruit could have been partially the result of their more advanced maturity. Improvement of fruit quality could be an important incentive for the application of DI during Stage II because growers may expect to receive a premium price for their higher quality fruit.

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Arturo López-Carvajal, R. Leonel Grijalva-Contreras, Cristóbal Navarro-Ainza and Gerardo Martínez-Díaz

Approximately 50% of the asparagus plantations (3000 ha) in the Caborca, Sonora, area is furrow-irrigated. Under these conditions it is common to observe growing weeds in the furrow section, which impede water flow and compete for resources with the asparagus plant, finally reducing spear production and quality. Hence, the objective of this study was to validate herbicides to achieve an efficient annual weed control in the asparagus plantations. The validation plot was established in May 1998 on a commercial asparagus plantation that was highly infested mostly with annual grasses (Echinochloa colonum and E. crusgalli), and Amaranthus spp. and Portulaca oleracea as a secondary weeds. The herbicides and rates tested were: Prometrine (2 L·ha-1), Norflurazon (4 kg), Metribuzin (0.5 kg), Linuron (2 kg), and the control plot (no herbicide application). All the tested products showed significant weed control percentages compared with the control plot. Norflurazon, however, was clearly superior to the other herbicides, exhibiting a 100% control for a period of almost 18 weeks. Metribuzin had a 85% control for 12 weeks. Linuron and Prometrine exhibited a 68% and 47% control, respectively, for up to 12 weeks. Plant toxicity symptoms on the asparagus plant were not observed with any of the tested herbicides.

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Gerardo Lopez, M. Hossein Behboudian, Gemma Echeverria, Joan Girona and Jordi Marsal

The dwindling water supply, on a global scale, is making deficit irrigation (DI) more a necessity than a choice. It is therefore necessary to evaluate the effects of DI on fruit quality. Only instrumental evaluation of quality has been reported in the literature and, to the best of our knowledge, no sensory evaluation has been reported for any DI fruit including peach (Prunus persica). We applied four irrigation treatments for 50 days before harvest to ‘Ryan's Sun’ peach and evaluated fruit quality and sensory attributes. Treatments were: full irrigation (FI), no irrigation (NI), FI followed by NI (FI/NI), and NI followed by FI (NI/FI). NI reduced fruit size, delayed fruit maturity, and increased fruit dry matter concentration (DMC) compared with FI. NI also increased fruit soluble solids concentration (SSC) and titratable acidity (TA). A trained taste panel indicated that NI increased fruit firmness, crispness, and sourness, but it reduced sweetness, juiciness, and the intensity of peach flavor. A panel of consumers indicated reduced preference for NI fruit. Consumer preference was similar between NI/FI and FI fruit but was reduced in FI/NI fruit. There were no significant correlations between the instrumental quality parameters and sensory attributes. We conclude that NI before harvest impaired organoleptic peach quality. If only a small amount of water is available during the 50 days before harvest, peach organoleptic quality could be improved if this water is applied just before harvest.

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Mario Orozco-Santos, Javier Farías-Larios, Jaime Molina-Ochoa and José Gerardo López-Aguirre

Development of resistance to chemical pesticides has been reported in about 150 plant pathogenic species, mostly fungi. Biocontrol of plant pathogens is an alternative to chemical pesticides. Actually, there are products formulated with beneficial microorganisms, such as mycorrhizal fungi, rhizobacteria, antagonistic fungi, and others. The objective was to evaluate the development of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. melonis (FOM) on melon plants inoculated with commercial biological formulations based on beneficial microorganisms. Twelve treatments were evaluated: T1) VAM media nursery + FOM; T2) Hortic Plus + FOM; T3) BioPak F + FOM; T4) Glomus intraradices + FOM; T5) FOM; T6) control; T7) VAM media nursery; T8) Hortic Plus; T9) BioPak F; T10) Glomus intraradices; T11) FOM + Mancozeb wp80; and T12) FOM + BioPak F. The melon cultivar used was `Colima' (Peto Seed Co.). Seeds were planted in Styrofoam growing containers containing coconut fiber powder as substrate. One seed was planted per cell and maintained until transplanting. Plants were transplanted to pots containing sterile soils 13 days postemergence. Inoculation of treatments with Fusarium was made with a concentrated suspension at 1 × 106 conidia/mL. For inoculation with beneficial microorganisms, manufacturer specifications were followed. A completely randomized design with 12 treatments and 12 replications was used to estimate the incidence of Fusarium, number of leaves, leaf area, root biomass, and percentage of roots colonized by mycorrhizal fungi. Overall, T10 showed the best behavior in all variables. Inoculation of cantaloupe plants with Fusarium affected their performance, but those treatments including mycorrhizal fungi enhanced their performance withstanding the damage by Fusarium.