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  • Author or Editor: Xavier Vallverdu x
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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.