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Deficit irrigation reduces postharvest rib pinking in wholehead Iceberg lettuce, but at the expense of head fresh weight

Monaghan, J.M., Vickers, L.H., Grove, I.G. and Beacham, A.M. (2016) Deficit irrigation reduces postharvest rib pinking in wholehead Iceberg lettuce, but at the expense of head fresh weight. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

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Official URL: http://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.7895

Abstract

BACKGROUND Postharvest pinking is a serious issue affecting lettuce quality. Previous studies suggested the possibility of using deficit irrigation to control discolouration; however, this approach may also affect yield. This study investigated the effect of varying irrigation deficits on iceberg lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) to determine the relationship between irrigation deficit, pinking and fresh weight. RESULTS The deficit imposed and head fresh weight obtained depended on both the duration and timing of withholding irrigation. Withholding irrigation for a period of 2 or 3 weeks in the middle or end of the growth period significantly reduced rib pinking compared to well-watered controls. Withholding irrigation for 2 weeks at the start of the growth period or 1 week at the end did not significantly reduce pinking. Withholding irrigation also reduced head fresh weight such that minimising pinking would be predicted to incur a loss of 40% relative to well-watered controls. However, smaller benefits to pinking reduction were achieved with less effect on head fresh weight. CONCLUSION Deficit irrigation could be used to provide smaller but higher quality heads which are less likely to be rejected. The balance of these factors will determine the degree of adoption of this approach to growers.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: lettuce, Lactuca sativa, deficit, irrigation, pinking, discolouration, postharvest
Divisions: Crop and Environment Sciences
Depositing User: Ms Kath Osborn
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2016 10:45
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2018 21:08
URI: http://hau.collections.crest.ac.uk/id/eprint/10157

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