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Effects of calcium carbonate application on field-grown tomato physiology, yield and quality in a semi-arid Mediterranean climate
The application of foliar and fruit mineral particle films has been considering to significantly reduce heat and water stress damages in many horticultural crops. Sprays with new formulations consisting of calcium-carbonate suspensions can have beneficial effects on vegetable crops, including tomato. In this study, the effects of a calcium-carbonate suspension on physiology, yield and some quality aspects of a tomato crop were assessed under three levels of deficit irrigation (I50-moderate, I25-moderate to severe, I0-severe) in semi-arid climate. Leaf transpiration was significantly reduced by 47% (late June) and 58% (early July) in plants treated with calcium-carbonate suspension. Late in growing season, leaves sprayed were approx. 1°C cooler than those of the control. The treatment determined a marketable yield greater (+12%) than that of control, in I50. Fruit quality was significantly improved under severe water deficit. Treated tomatoes exhibited better firmness (+24%), greater vitamin C (+15%) and total phenols (+12%) contents and higher antioxidant activity (5-7%) than those untreated. Calcium-carbonate application minimized fruit losses under moderate deficit irrigation, while ensuring great water saving and improving the nutraceutical traits of fruits. These aspects make this technology an environmentally-friendly tool to improve the crop sustainability and the nutritional quality in tomato.
CP17424 Accepted 22 January 2018
© CSIRO 2018