Main content area

Effects of nitrogen availability on cactus pear (Opuntia ficus-indica L. Mill) postharvest quality

Ochoa, M.J., Leguizamon, G., Uhart, S.A.
Acta horticulturae 2002 no.581 pp. 225-230
Opuntia ficus-indica, cactus pears, cladodes, cold, cold storage, color, decay fungi, firmness, fruit quality, fruits, growing season, nitrogen, nitrogen fertilizers, pH, plant cultural practices, pulp, shelf life, sucrose, total soluble solids
Post-harvest quality is modified by different agronomic practices during the growing season, such as nitrogen fertilization. The effects of N availability on fruits post-harvest quality is scarcely known, particularly in cactus pear. The aim of the work was to study during two years the incidence of different levels of N availability (N(0): control with the addition of sucrose to immobilize mineral N, N100 and N200 :100 to 150 and 200 to 300 kg/ha of N ) on fruit post-harvest quality stored under cold storage (10 °C), cold storage+ 7 days under shelf-life conditions (20 °C) and shelf life conditions Peel color, fresh weight, firmness, total soluble solids, percent pulp, pH, water losses, and fungus incidence were evaluated. Nitrogen and/or NO3 concentration in fruits and one and two year cladodes were highest for highest N levels. The year effect on fruit quality was higher than conservation treatments effects, reducing fruit firmness and pH, and increasing water losses and fungus decay. Cold storage allows the fruits to maintain firmness and to reduce water losses and fungus incidence, and finaly, an increasing N availability reduced fruits firmness and increased fungus decay.