FRUIT QUALITY RESPONSES TO SEVERE WATER STRESS DURING STAGE III OF PEACH FRUIT DEVELOPMENT
Irrigation withholding during the final stage of peach fruit growth was studied to understand the effects of irrigation water shortages on fruit quality. Two irrigation treatments were applied in two consecutive seasons (2003-2004) in a commercial OHenry peach orchard: full irrigation (FI) and no irrigation (NI) during stage III of fruit development. At harvest, fruit size, skin color, firmness (FF) and dry matter concentration was evaluated. Peach juice was obtained to determine its soluble solid concentration (SSC), titratable acidity (TA) and electrical conductivity (EC). NI reduced fruit size at harvest and increased its relative dry matter content in comparison with FI. NI fruit were harvested 5-10 days later than those from FI trees. Maturity indices such as FF and skin color indicated a delay in fruit maturation in NI fruit. Although NI fruit had higher SSC and TA values than FI fruit, severe water stress did not improve the SSC/TA ratio, which is the fruit quality parameter that is ultimately most closely related with consumer acceptance of peaches. Moreover, NI increased fruit astringency with a somewhat salty flavor that may have been related with an increase in EC of the juice. When the irrigation season cannot be completed successfully because of drought, peach fruit could have: (i) limitations in size, (ii) delays in maturation, and (iii) a low-quality harvest. All these will make it difficult to market the fruit.
Lopez, G., Girona, J. and Marsal, J. (2012). FRUIT QUALITY RESPONSES TO SEVERE WATER STRESS DURING STAGE III OF PEACH FRUIT DEVELOPMENT. Acta Hortic. 962, 355-361
drought, fruit size, fruit maturation, fruit quality attributes, Prunus persica, water stress