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Irrigation positively affects the chestnut’s quality: The chemical composition, fruit size and sensory attributes

Mota, Margarida, Pinto, Teresa, Vilela, Alice, Marques, Tiago, Borges, António, Caço, João, Ferreira-Cardoso, Jorge, Raimundo, Fernando, Gomes-Laranjo, José
Scientia horticulturae 2018 v.238 pp. 177-186
Castanea, crude protein, cultivars, fruits, irrigation systems, nutritive value, orchards, sensory properties, starch, sugars, Portugal
In the northeast of Portugal there is a tendency to introduce irrigation system on the chestnut orchards but the effect of irrigation on the chestnut’s quality has not been studied yet. This study aims to evaluate the effect of irrigation on the ‘Judia’ cultivar chestnuts quality concerning its chemical composition, fruit size and tastiness. Three treatments were applied during 2015 and 2016: the drip system, the micro-sprinkler system and a non-irrigated treatment. In both years the bigger chestnuts and production were always present in irrigated treatments. Significant differences among treatments were found in ashes, starch, soluble sugars, and crude protein contents in 2015, but in 2016 no significant differences were found. Moreover, the non-irrigated chestnuts were the sweetest but with smaller calibre. The chestnuts from micro-sprinkler were the firmest and they were as sweet as the drip's chestnuts. Results suggest that irrigation, namely with sprinkler system, valorise the chestnuts by increasing its size and keeping its nutritional value and its sensory quality.