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Effect of regulated deficit irrigation on the quality of raw and table olives

Sánchez-Rodríguez, L., Lipan, L., Andreu, L., Martín-Palomo, M.J., Carbonell-Barrachina, Á.A., Hernández, F., Sendra, E.
Agricultural water management 2019 v.221 pp. 415-421
deficit irrigation, demonstration farms, foods, freshwater, fruits, harvesting, olives, polyphenols, rehydration, water potential, water shortages, water stress, Spain
Fresh water scarcity is a major worldwide issue. There is a need to reduce water use whereas preserving the quality of food products. Regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) is a strategy to reduce fresh water consumption. The aim of this work was to study the effect of RDI on olives when applied before harvesting, without a rehydration period, on the quality of table olives. The experiment was performed in “La Hampa”, the experimental farm of IRNAS-CSIC at Coria del Río (Seville, Spain) during 2015 and 2016. Two deficit irrigation treatments were compared with a full irrigated control. Treatment 1 (T1) reduced irrigation from early September, about 2 weeks before harvest, until values of midday stem water potential were around −2 MPa. Treatment 2 (T2) reduced irrigation from mid-August, about 4 weeks before harvest, with a similar water stress level. The duration and level of water stress was described with the stress integral (SI). Fruit features were studied, before and after the industrial process to obtain Spanish-style table olives, in order to evaluate differences due to irrigation on raw olives and due to processing on table olives. Water stress conditions slightly changed olive characteristics, affecting size and composition. The industrial processing to table olives masked differences between irrigation treatments, though some features such as total polyphenols content (TPC) were still different. SI was significantly related with fruit weight, pit weight, equatorial diameter, linolenic acid and MUFAs content and (MUFA/PUFA)/SFA ratio.