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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 934: XXVIII International Horticultural Congress on Science and Horticulture for People (IHC2010): International Symposium on Postharvest Technology in the Global Market

EFFECT OF IRRIGATION PRACTICES ON THE QUALITY OF FRESH-CUT LETTUCE

Authors:   A. Martínez-Sánchez, C. Luna, J.A. Tudela, L. De Vogelaere, L. Tiebergijn, A. Allende , M.I. Gil
Keywords:   Lactuca sativa L., ¿Iceberg¿, ¿Romaine¿, harvest, off-odours, visual quality, shelf-life, minimally processed, water stress
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2012.934.67
Abstract:
As water scarcity in agriculture is starting to be a severe problem, the growers need to reduce water consumption. However, as far as we know, an optimal irrigation management has not been established yet in many horticultural crops. This is a priority in countries such as Spain with limited water resources. Moreover, there is still a lack of information regarding the impact of deficit irrigation strategies on the quality of fresh produce. In the present study we evaluated the impact of 5 irrigation doses on the quality and shelf-life of ‘Iceberg’ and ‘Romaine’ fresh-cut lettuce on three different planting dates during a year. The fresh-cut lettuce was obtained simulating an industrial process. Produce was packed under active modified atmosphere packaging and stored 3 days at 4°C followed by 10 days at 7°C. The different irrigation doses did not affect the quality and shelf-life of fresh-cut ‘Iceberg’ lettuce. However, fresh-cut ‘Romaine’ lettuce grown with deficit irrigation showed higher overall visual quality and less off-odours at 13 days of storage. There¬fore, it was determined that the use of deficit irrigation strategy in leafy vegetables can be beneficial not only from an environmental point of view, but also for an increase in the quality of the produce for the consumer.
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