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  • Author or Editor: Stephen R. Grattan x
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Reuse of saline drainage water for crop irrigation has been proposed as one strategy to reduce the drainage volume requiring disposal in California. A 6 y study to assess the feasibility of cyclic saline drainage reuse in a processing tomato/ cotton /cotton rotation was conducted. Treatments were: 1. fresh water applied throughout, 2. saline water applied after 1st flower to tomatoes, 3. saline water applied to tomato and the next cotton crop. Saline water generally improved tomato fruit quality, but did not reduce yields during the first 4 years. In year 6, yields were reduced 17% (n.s.) and 30% (p<0.05) in treatments 2 and 3 respectively, relative to the control. Monitoring of the root zone showed that boron has accumulated over time in saline treatments and may be limiting crop production more than soil salinity. Selenium was readily leached by periodic fresh water use and did not accumulate to levels of concern in tomato tissues. Other work has shown that salinity can enhance tomato susceptibility to root rot which may limit this practice in some areas. However, the data show that high value crops like tomato can be incorporated into saline reuse schemes if managed appropriately.

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A comparative study was conducted to evaluate the influence of seven different levels of irrigation applied to `Arbequina I-18' olive (Olea europaea L.) trees grown in a super-high-density orchard (1,656 trees/ha) in the Sacramento Valley of California. Water was applied differentially by drip irrigation at rates of 15%, 25%, 40%, 57%, 71%, 89%, and 107% evapotranspiration (ETc) in 2002, and 28%, 33%, 55%, 74%, 93%, 117%, and 140% ETc in 2003. Each treatment was replicated three times. Olives were harvested on two different dates each year from each of 21 plots. Three of four harvest dates showed a decrease in maturity index with increasing irrigation levels. Oils were made from olive samples collected from each plot and analyzed for oil quality parameters. Total polyphenol levels and oxidative stability decreased as the trees received more water, especially for the three lowest irrigation treatment levels in 2002, but few differences were noted between treatments in 2003 when all the trees were irrigated more heavily. Average oxidative stability was correlated very closely with total polyphenol content with r 2 = 0.98 in 2002 and 0.94 in 2003. In 2002, free fatty acid levels increased and peroxide levels were unchanged, but in 2003, free fatty acid levels were unchanged and peroxide levels decreased in treatments receiving more water. Saturated fatty acids did not significantly change in 2002, due to tree irrigation level. The mono-unsaturated fatty acid levels and oleic–linoleic relationship declined while poly-unsaturated fatty acid levels increased in 2002 with increased irrigation. In 2003, there was no notable difference in the ratio of mono to poly unsaturated fatty acid levels. The individual fatty acid most consistently affected by more irrigation water was stearic, which decreased in both years. Total sterol content (mg·kg–1), percentages of cholesterol and erythrodiol were significantly influenced by tree irrigation levels, but increased in one year and either decreased or were unchanged the next. Oil sensory properties of fruitiness, bitterness, and pungency all declined in oils made from trees receiving more water. The lowest irrigation levels produced oils that were characterized by excessive bitterness, very high pungency, and woody, herbaceous flavors. Intermediate irrigation levels (33% to 40% ETc) produced oils with balance, complexity, and characteristic artichoke, grass, green apple, and some ripe fruit flavors. Higher irrigation levels lowered oil extractability and produced relatively bland oils with significantly less fruitiness and almost no bitterness or pungency.

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High salinity and boron often occur together in irrigation water in arid climates, but very little research has been done to study the interaction of the two. A greenhouse experiment was conducted at the US Salinity Laboratory in sand tanks to evaluate the interactions between B and saline drainage water on the performance of broccoli. Particular interest in this study was directed towards the composition of the salinizing solution to determine what role various salts have on the salinity-boron interaction. Results from this study indicate that both Cl-based salts and those characteristic of saline drainage water (i.e., a mixture of salts dominated by sodium sulfate) showed a significant salinity–boron interaction. At high salinity, increased B concentration was less detrimental, both visually and quantitatively (i.e., biomass), than it was at low salinity. That is, plants could tolerate a higher solution B-concentration at higher salinity. However, there was no significant difference between salt types. The effects on head weights were more exaggerated than those on shoot biomass. Shoot B concentration was influenced by salinity, but interestingly the direction of influence was dependent upon the B concentration in the solution. Regardless of the composition of the salinizing solution, increased salinity increased shoot B concentration when B concentrations in the solution were relatively low (i.e., 0.5 mg·L-1). At the highest solution B concentration (28 mg·L-1), increased salinity reduced shoot B concentration. Solution B in itself had very little influence on shoot ion accumulation, but both salinity (i.e., EC) and salinity composition had very strong influences on shoot tissue ion composition. Therefore, these data indicate that salinity and B are antagonistic.

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