|Authors: ||N. Shongwe, M. De Wit, G. Osthoff, P. Nel, M. Labuschagne|
|Keywords: ||cactus pear, cultivar, fruit quality, locality, Opuntia ficus-indica, season|
Cactus pears (Opuntia ficus-indica) are native to arid and semi-arid regions where growth of food plants is limited.
The location and environmental conditions have an influence on the quality of cactus pear fruit.
The aim of this study was to determine the influence of the location, cultivar and season on fruit quality, to thus establishing the most stable cultivar for fruit quality among three agro-ecological localities.
Fruit quality parameters were evaluated for 11 cultivars grown in three localities in South Africa.
The evaluation was done over two seasons (2008 and 2009) where parameters analyzed include the fruit mass, pulp percentage, acidity, ascorbic acid- and sugar content.
Significant differences among cultivars were observed in mean values of the parameters tested at all the locations.
Location contributed significantly to variation in sugar content, while cultivar contributed to variation in percentage pulp, pH and acidity.
However, interaction between environment and cultivar contributed to variation in most of the parameters tested.
The performance of cultivars varied between seasons and it was found that ‘Meyers’ was the most stable at all three locations in the first season (2008), while ‘Tormentosa’ performed the best in the second season (2009). According to the Additive Main effects and Multiplicative Interaction method (AMMI), ‘Meyers’ proved to be the most stable cultivar at all the locations over two seasons.
Furthermore, it possesses substantial quality parameters compared to the other cultivars.
The genetic material, agriculture location and season made a significant contribution to variation in cactus pear fruit quality.
The effect of location and season interactions was significant in especially sugar and acidic levels.
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