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Joan Tous, Agustí Romero, Juan F. Hermoso, Antònia Ninot, Joan Plana, and Ignasi Batlle

The carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua) shows interesting prospects for some coastal Mediterranean growing areas and is widely used for industrial, agricultural, and ornamental purposes. It can be an alternative crop adapted to part-time farming and can also be used to regenerate vegetation in areas with a mild climate and erosion problems. Four Spanish carob cultivars were examined (Banya de Cabra, Duraio, Matalafera, and Rojal) to determine the one that performed the best for planting new orchards in northeastern Spain (Catalonia). The trees in this rain-fed trial (average rainfall of 500 mm) were planted in 1986 using seedling rootstocks that were budded in 1987. The trees were trained using the free-vase system and were spaced 8 × 9 m (138 trees/ha including 12% pollinators). The results showed that ‘Rojal’ was the earliest bearing cultivar. However, no significant differences were observed for cumulative pod production 18 years after budding. With respect to cumulative seed yield, ‘Duraio’ had the highest production (95 kg/tree). The lowest tree vigor (trunk cross-section) was observed in ‘Matalafera’. ‘Rojal’ trees produced the largest pods (average fruit weight of 18.9 g) and lowest seed content (11.8%), while ‘Banya de Cabra’ and ‘Duraio’ produced the smallest fruit (weighing 15.3 and 16.2 g, respectively) with the highest seed content (15.2% and 17.3%, respectively). Gum content, expressed as a percentage of the dry weight, was highest in ‘Duraio’ (56.9%) and was lowest in ‘Rojal’ (54.1%). Thus, in terms of kernel and pod production, ‘Duraio’ appeared to be the best-performing female cultivar for planting new carob orchards.

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Josep Rufat, Agustí J. Romero-Aroca, Amadeu Arbonés, Josep M. Villar, Juan F. Hermoso, and Miquel Pascual

This study describes the effects of mechanical harvesting and irrigation on quality in ‘Arbequina’ olive oil (Olea europaea L.). Irrigation treatments included a control, deficit irrigation (DI) during pit hardening, and subsurface deficit irrigation (SDI). Results showed that mechanical harvesting damaged the olives and reduced olive oil quality by increasing free fatty acids (FFAs) and peroxide value, and by decreasing fruitiness, stability, bitterness, and pungency. DI resulted in increased fruit dry weight and oil content, which could be explained by their reduced crop load (9.3% of crop reduction for DI and 23.9% for SDI). DI did not affect olive oil characteristics, whereas SDI increased stability, fruitiness, and bitterness, and decreased polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFAs). In conclusion, mechanical harvesting tended to damage the fruit, resulting in lower quality olive oil, the DI strategy neither affected fruit nor olive oil characteristics, whereas the SDI strategy positively affected oil quality when greater water restrictions were applied.