FRUIT DEVELOPMENT AND MATURATION PHENOLOGICAL STAGES OF 'ALGERIE' LOQUAT
Fruit of loquat (Eriobotrya japonica Lindl.) develops during winter and matures in early spring, arriving to the markets before any other spring fruit crops. Consequently, early harvest becomes of paramount importance in this fruit that reaches the highest prices at the beginning of the season. However, farmers often harvest non-fully mature fruits marketing too acid, unpalatable products that generate consumers reluctance toward loquat. Hence, consolidation of loquat market would require the establishment of a proper stage of maturation that conciliates farmers and consumers rights. With the aim to suggest to Andalusian loquat producers the adoption of a mandatory picking stage we have analyzed fruit development and maturation in Algerie loquat. In this work, six principal and three secondary stages for fruit development and maturity were identified, selected and described. In each stage, fruit color and pubescence, calyx end and peduncle changes and seed appearance were described. We also determined average fruit weight (seed and pulp), diameter, skin color using CIE 1976 L*a*b* procedure, fruit firmness, soluble solid content and acidity for each stage. The most relevant stages for our objective are light-orange fruit (stage 4) and ripe fruits (stage 5) corresponding to the fruits ready for picking and fully-ripe for consumption, respectively. Postharvest evolution does not allow fruits harvested before stage 5 to reach values characteristic of full ripeness. The number of days after bloom and growing degree days (GDD) accumulated using base temperature of 3°C were calculated for each stage. Thermal requirements from bloom to picking stage are estimated in nearly 1,500 GDD for this cultivar in Andalusia.
Pinillos, V., Cañete, M.L., Sanchez, R., Cuevas, J. and Hueso, J.J. (2007). FRUIT DEVELOPMENT AND MATURATION PHENOLOGICAL STAGES OF 'ALGERIE' LOQUAT. Acta Hortic. 750, 331-336
Eriobotrya japonica, development, phenological stages