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Relationships between strawberry fruit quality attributes and crop load

Correia, P.J., Pestana, M., Martinez, F., Ribeiro, E., Gama, F., Saavedra, T., Palencia, P.
Scientia horticulturae 2011 v.130 no.2 pp. 398-403
Fragaria ananassa, aboveground biomass, bags, calcium, coconuts, crop quality, cropping systems, crops, cultivars, firmness, fruit quality, genotype, greenhouses, horticulture, hydroponics, leaves, peat, polyethylene, strawberries, titratable acidity, total soluble solids
Crop load can influence fruit quality in several horticultural species. The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of different concentrations of calcium on crop quality traits in three short-day strawberry (Fragaria×ananassa Duch.) cultivars (‘Ventana’, ‘Camarosa’ and ‘Candonga’) and to assess the relationships between crop load and quality parameters. The studies were conducted using a hydroponic system in a greenhouse. Calcium was added as Ca(NO₃)₂ at 2mM, 3mM, 4mM and 5mM. A completely randomized block design (4 Ca concentrations×3 cultivars) with three replicates was used. Each replicate consisted of 12 plants grown in polyethylene bags (100cm×18cm×3cm) filled with coconut peat. Titratable acidity, total soluble solids and firmness were measured throughout the experimental period. Calcium application had no effect on fruit quality attributes but the genotype effect was clear. At the end of the experiment (28th May, 2008), titratable acidity was positively related to the fresh weight of above-ground biomass and number of leaves respectively in the ‘Ventana’ and ‘Camarosa’ cultivars. Higher values of total soluble solids were found at low crop load in ‘Ventana’ but in ‘Camarosa’ this relation was not found. In ‘Candonga’, higher total soluble solids were linked to crop load. In ‘Ventana’, titratable acidity significantly decreased as crop load increased, and in ‘Camarosa’ high values of titratable acidity were found at different values of crop load. ‘Ventana’ seemed to be more sensitive to the effects of crop load patterns. Genotype was an important factor in determining fruit quality parameters.