Postharvest quality of whole and fresh-cut pomegranates cultivated under deficit irrigation
An arid climate and the persistent shortage and low quality of available water resources are typical of Spanish Mediterranean agricultural systems. Fruit production in these areas must be oriented towards the use of less water and stress-resistant plant materials that, under deficit irrigation (DI) strategies, may allow important water savings while keeping high commercial quality. Due to its hardiness, pomegranate is an interesting crop for areas with few and low quality water resources. In this work, the postharvest quality of LSQUOMollar de ElcheRSQUO was studied in whole and minimally processed pomegranates, from scheduled DI and was compared with fruits obtained under traditional cultivation. The initial and final quality of fruit stored 30 days at 5°C and 90% RH was evaluated. After that the arils were extracted by hand, washed with chlorinated water (100 ppm, 2°C, pH 6.5, 2 min), rinsed and packaged under passive modified atmosphere. The overall quality of fresh-cut arils was evaluated during 14 days at 5°C. At harvest, the whole fruit coming from DI presented a better colour than control (°Hue= 51.4 vs. °Hue= 61.9), higher content of total soluble solids (17.1 vs. 15.5° Brix) and better sensory quality. That trend was maintained after 30 days at 5°C, when DI fruit also did not show any chilling injury (CI) symptom, compared with 33% of control fruit that expressed CI. The shelled efficiency was higher for DI pomegranates, being 67.7% edible product vs. 60.4% for control fruit. After 14 days at 5°C, the gas composition within packages was the same for both treatments (12-15 kPa O2 and 6-8 kPa CO2). Arils from DI were slightly sweeter than the control ones (16.9 vs. 15.6° Brix) and had better sensory quality. In conclusion, cultivation under scheduled DI allowed the whole pomegranate and fresh-cut arils to obtain a higher overall quality than that obtained by a traditional irrigation system.
Peña Estevez, M.E., Artés-Hernández, F., Aguayo, E., Artés, F. and Gómez, P.A. (2018). Postharvest quality of whole and fresh-cut pomegranates cultivated under deficit irrigation. Acta Hortic. 1209, 265-270
Punica granatum L., water stress, chilling injury, modified atmosphere, minimal processing