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Increasing doses of potassium increases yield and quality of muskmelon fruits under greenhouse

Incremento de doses de potássio favorece a produtividade e qualidade de melão em casa de vegetação

ABSTRACT

Potassium (K) influences the variables that determine quality of fruit and the concentration of phytonutrients to human health and therefore consumer preferences. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of different concentrations of K in the nutrient solution (5, 7, 9 and 11 mM of K) on yield and quality of Cantaloupe fruits under greenhouse conditions. The experiment was conducted in pots using a completely randomized design with 15 replications. Analysis of variance, correlation, regression and multiple comparisons among means (Tukey p<0.05) were performed. Results showed higher values of yield, average fruit weight, equatorial diameter, pulp thickness, fruit firmness, soluble solids content, phenolic content and antioxidant capacity of fruits at the concentrations of 9 and 11 mM of K. All variables, except equatorial diameter, increased their values as K concentrations increased, showing a lineal, positive and significant trend, which evidences that the optimal dose of K in muskmelon is higher than 11 mM, being suggested for future research, to evaluate concentrations above this value.

Keywords:
Cucumis melo; plant nutrition; nutraceutical quality

RESUMO

O potássio (K) influencia as variáveis que determinam a qualidade dos frutos e a concentração de fitonutriente para a saúde humana e, portanto, as preferencias do consumidor. O objetivo desse estudo foi avaliar o efeito de diversas concentrações de K na solução nutritiva (5, 7, 9 e 11 mM de K) sobre o rendimento e qualidade de frutos de melão Cantaloupe em casa de vegetação. O experimento foi realizado em vasos, em delineamento experimental completamente casualizado, com 15 repetições. Foram analisadas a variância, correlação, regressão e comparação múltipla de médias (Tukey p<0,05). Obtiveram-se valores maiores de produtividade, peso médio de frutos, diâmetro equatorial, espessura da polpa, firmeza da polpa, teor de sólidos solúveis totais, teor de compostos fenólicos e capacidade antioxidante dos frutos nas concentrações de 9 e 11 mM de K. Todas variáveis, com exceção de diâmetro polar dos frutos, tiveram seus valores aumentados, com concentrações crescentes de K, evidenciando tendência linear positiva e significativa, indicando que a dose ótima de K em melão é superior a 11 mM. Assim, sugere-se para pesquisas futuras, avaliar concentrações acima de 11 mM..

Palavras chave:
Cucumis melo; nutricão vegetal; qualidade nutracêutica

The Cucurbitaceae family, which includes cucumbers, pumpkins, muskmelons, squash and pumpkins, consists of hundreds of wild and cultivated varieties. Of these, muskmelon (Cucumis melo) is an important horticultural crop in arid and semi-arid regions, due to its good adaptation to the soil and climatic conditions (Kusvuran et al., 2012KUSVURAN, S; ELLIALTIOGLU, S; YASAR, F; ABAK, K. 2012. Antioxidative enzyme activities in the leaves and callus tissues of salt-tolerant and salt-susceptible melon varieties under salinity. African Journal of Biotechnology 11: 635-641.), with a total annual production of 31.92 million tons (FAOSTAT, 2014FAOSTAT. 2014. Web site database. Available at http://faostat3.fao.org/faostat-gateway/go/to/browse/rankings/commodities_by_regions/S
http://faostat3.fao.org/faostat-gateway/...
).

However, production under field conditions focuses in a few weeks, mainly due to climatic factors, then, to extend the availability of this product in the market, it is necessary to use other production methods (Arellano et al., 2011ARELLANO JDJE, COTA ML, NÁJERA SL. 2011. Posibilidades y restricciones para la exportación de melón cantaloupe producido en el Municipio de Mapimí, Durango, México al mercado de los Estados Unidos. Revista Mexicana de Agronegocios 15: 593-604.).

In this situation, horticultural production under protected systems is an alternative to traditional field production, especially in highly profitable crops (Pardossi et al., 2002PARDOSSI, A; MALORGIO, F; INCROCCI, L; CAMPIOTTI, CA; TOGNONI, F. 2002. A comparison between two methods to control nutrient delivery to greenhouse melons grown in recirculating nutrient solution culture. Scientia Horticulturae 92: 89-95.). The development of muskmelon plants under greenhouse conditions compared to those developed in field, have many advantages such as precocity, yield increases and water use and fertilizer efficiency (Preciado-Rangel et al., 2011PRECIADO-RANGEL, P; HERNÁNDEZ, MF; GARCÍA-HERNÁNDEZ, JL; RUEDA-PUENTE, EO; RIVERA, JRE; HERRERA, AL; CASTRUITA, MAS; VIDAL, JO. 2011. Evaluación de soluciones nutritivas orgánicas en la producción de tomate en invernadero. Interciencia 36:,689-693.).

The low restrictive environment and the increase of fertilization especially nitrogen, allows high yields (Preciado-Rangel et al., 2011PRECIADO-RANGEL, P; HERNÁNDEZ, MF; GARCÍA-HERNÁNDEZ, JL; RUEDA-PUENTE, EO; RIVERA, JRE; HERRERA, AL; CASTRUITA, MAS; VIDAL, JO. 2011. Evaluación de soluciones nutritivas orgánicas en la producción de tomate en invernadero. Interciencia 36:,689-693.); however, this decreases the nutraceutical quality, because of when there is no deficit of nitrogen (N) the production of compounds such as amino acids, proteins, and alkaloids that contain N increased (Hallmann & Rembiałkowska, 2012HALLMANN, E; REMBIAŁKOWSKA, E. 2012. Characterization of antioxidant compounds in sweet bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) under organic and conventional growing systems. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 92: 2409-2415.). Therefore, researches of the factors that enhance the nutraceutical content of fruit were promoted (Navarro et al., 2006NAVARRO, JM; FLORES, P; GARRIDO, C; MARTINEZ, V. 2006. Changes in the contents of antioxidant compounds in pepper fruits at different ripening stages, as affected by salinity. Food Chemistry 96: 66-73.). In particular, total phenols have a high antioxidant capacity, highly desirable nutraceutical characteristic that can contribute to improved health (Fischer et al., 2013FISCHER, UA; JAKSCH, AV; CARLE, R; KAMMERER, DR. 2013. Influence of origin source, different fruit tissue and juice extraction methods on anthocyanin, phenolic acid, hydrolysable tannin and isolariciresinol contents of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) fruits and juices. European Food Research and Technology 237: 209-221.; Rinaldi et al., 2013RINALDI, M; CALIGIANI, A; BORGESE, R; PALLA, G; BARBANTI, D; MASSINI, R. 2013. The effect of fruit processing and enzymatic treatments on pomegranate juice composition, antioxidant activity and polyphenols content. Food Science and Technology 53: 355-359.). Therefore, a high content of phenols and antioxidants, allow greater competitiveness in domestic and international markets; however, studies using different K concentrations in the nutrient solution and quality of muskmelon were not found.

Muskmelon has low fat and sodium (Na) content, no cholesterol and provides many essential nutrients such as potassium (K), besides being a rich source of beta-carotene and vitamin C. The factors that may affect quality of fruits include genotype, environmental conditions and fertilization (Beckles, 2012BECKLES DM. 2012. Factors affecting the postharvest soluble solids and sugar content of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) fruit. Postharvest Biology Technology 63: 129-140.).

Regarding fertilization, in recent years, to improve nutritional and nutraceutical quality of vegetable products for human consumption, the bio-fortification programs consisting of cultivation of species to increase their nutritional value, include trace elements such as micronutrients (Montoya et al., 2013MONTOYA, S; ORTEGA, E; NAVARRO, E; LORENZO, M. 2013. Cucumber biofortification whith potassium. European Scientific Journal 9: 101-108.; Constán-Aguilar et al., 2014CONSTÁN-AGUILAR C, LEYVA R, BLASCO B, SÁNCHEZ-RODRÍGUEZ E, SORIANO T, RUIZ JM. 2014. Biofortification with potassium: antioxidant responses during postharvest of cherry tomato fruits in cold storage. Acta Physiologiae Plantarum 36: 283-293.).

Concerning macronutrients, K is the one that exerts greater influence on the characteristics that determine the consumer’s preferences, the quality of the fruits and the concentration of phytonutrients of vital importance to human health (Lester et al., 2010LESTER, GE; JIFON, JL; MAKUS, DJ. 2010. Impact of potassium nutrition on postharvest fruit quality: Melon (Cucumis melo L.) case study. Plant and Soil 335: 117-131.).

Under this perspective, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of different concentrations of K in the nutrient solution applied during the growth period of muskmelon plants and their effect on yield and nutraceutical quality of fruits.

MATERIAL AND METHODS

Study area

The study was conducted under greenhouse conditions with automated control system of environmental conditions at Instituto Tecnológico of Torreón, México (25°36’37”N, 103°22’32”W, altitude 1123 m). During the growing season, minimum and maximum temperatures inside greenhouse fluctuated between 20 and 35°C, while the minimum and maximum relative humidity ranged from 60 to 80%.

Crop management

Sowing was done directly, placing a seed of Expedition genotype (Harris Moran®, USA) in black polyethylene bags of 20 L, caliber 500 and nursery type, which were used as pots and placed in an arrangement called “quincunx”. Density was of six plants per square meter leaving one fruit per plant. Prewashed and sterilized river sand with a solution of 5% of NaClO was used as substrate. The treatments were designed from modifications of the Steiner nutrient solution and consisted of increasing levels of K (5, 7, 9 and 11 mM). Each treatment consisted of one plant/pot, distributed in a completely randomized design with 15 replications (one pot per replication). All nutrient solutions contained (in mM L-1) 8 Fe, 0.865 B, 1.6 Mn, 0.023 Zn, 0.11 Cu and 0.5 Mo and were adjusted to an osmotic potential of -0.073 MPa and pH of 5.5. The nutrient solutions were formulated using high soluble commercial fertilizers, available in the local market. Three irrigations were applied daily, using a drip irrigation system, whose volume ranged from 0.750 L pot-1 from sowing to the beginning of flowering (45 days after sowing) and 2.0 L plant-1 were provided from flowering to harvesting stage, which began 85 days after sowing. Plants were pruned to a stem and subsequently supported with stakes which were placed using raffia thread, holding one extreme on the stem base and the other to a metal wire which was secured to the firm structure of the greenhouse. Bees were used to pollinate flowers, introducing them to the greenhouse during the flowering stage. Several fruits were set after pollination with bees; however, only one fruit per plant was left. After pollination, fruits were pruned and the biggest one selected, which remained on plant until harvest. Harvest took place when the fruits break of from peduncle.

Fruit average weight and quality

Fruits were harvested at full slip phase, when stem was completely separated. The fruit average weight was expressed in kilograms per plant.

Fruit size (polar and equatorial diameter in cm), pulp thickness (cm), total soluble solids in Brix grades (°Brix) were measured on each harvested fruit. Brix grades were determined with a hand refractometer with scale from 0 to 32% (Atago® Master 2311), on each harvested fruit. Fruit pulp firmness was measured using a penetrometer (Extech®, FHT200) placing a plunger of 8-mm diameter and a 2-cm2 portion that was removed from the skin on opposite sides of fruit, averaging the two measurements in Newtons (N). Phenols content was quantified according to the methodology of Esparza-Rivera et al. (2006)ESPARZA-RIVERA, JR; STONE, MB; STUSHNOFF, C; PILON-SMITS, E; KENDALL, PA. 2006. Effects of ascorbic acid applied by two hydro cooling methods on physical and chemical properties of green leaf lettuce stored at 5°C. Journal of Food Science 71: 270-276. and antioxidant capacity by the method of Brand-Williams et al. (1995)BRAND-WILLIAMS W, CUVELIER ME, BERSET C. 1995. Use of a free radical method to evaluate antioxidant activity. Lebenmittel-Wissenschaft und Technologie 28:25-30..

Statistical analysis

Analysis of variance and multiple comparisons (Tukey HSD, p<0.05) were performed. All analyses were executed using SAS statistical software v. 9.0. Pearson correlation analysis (p<0.05) and simple linear regression were performed considering as independent variable the K concentrations.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Fruit average weight and quality

The results of this study indicate that concentrations of K in the nutrient solutions significantly influenced the fruit average weight (p<0.05, Table 1); obtaining the greatest yield those plants treated with the highest concentrations of K. These results were expected because K plays a vital role in the filling of fruits. There is an increase in requirement for K during the plant’s production process; so, when the muskmelon plants of this experiment received enough K, the efficiency of water was improved by increasing osmotic pressure of cells, making them more turgid and increasing the weight and size of fruits.

The report of Tuna et al. (2010TUNA, AL; KAYA, C; ASHRAF, M. 2010. Potassium sulfate improves water deficit tolerance in melon plants grown under glasshouse conditions. Journal of Plant Nutrition 33: 1276-1286.) indicate an increase in muskmelons fruit average weight with high concentrations of K, corroborating results of current study, due to the deficiency or excess of this macroelement limiting growth and crop yield (Tang et al., 2012TANG, M; ZHAO, H; BIE, Z; LI, Q; XIE, J; SHI, X; YI, H; SUN, Y. 2012. Effect of different potassium levels on growth and quality in two melon cultivars and two growing-seasons. Journal of Food Agriculture & Enviroment 10: 570-575.; Hafsi et al., 2014HAFSI, C; DEBEZ, A; ABDELLY, C. 2014. Potassium deficiency in plants: effects and signaling cascades. Acta Physiologiae Plantarum 36: 1055-1070.). However, there is no dose or unique concentration because of differences found in yield, due to different varieties, soil and weather conditions, crop management (Silva-Dias et al., 2005SILVA-DIAS, N; DUARTE, SN; DE MEDEIROS, JF; VÁSQUEZ, MN. 2005. Calidad Post-cosecha de frutos de melón producidos sobre diferentes niveles de salinidad del suelo y manejo de la fertirrigacion en invernadero. Ingenieria del Agua 12: 117.), source and method of fertilizers application (Lester et al., 2010LESTER, GE; JIFON, JL; MAKUS, DJ. 2010. Impact of potassium nutrition on postharvest fruit quality: Melon (Cucumis melo L.) case study. Plant and Soil 335: 117-131.). Fruit weight showed significant and positive correlation with concentration of K in the nutrient solution; this means that, fruit weight increases with increasing K concentrations (Table 2). This correlation occurred due to the fact that this element plays a fundamental function in the filling of fruits, promoting greater firmness and resistance of the tissues since potassium is absorbed in large quantities in crops such as muskmelon. Similar results reported Demiral & Köseoğlu (2005DEMIRAL MA, KÖSEOGLU AT. 2005. Effect of potassium on yield, fruit quality, and chemical composition of greenhouse-grown galia melon. Journal of Plant Nutrition 28: 93-100.).

The fruit polar diameter did not show significant differences among concentrations of K, however, the values varied from highest to lowest as follows: 9>11>7>5 mM of K (Table 1). Although K increases the weight and size of the fruits, the increase of fruit polar diameter was slight with only 4.44% in 9 mM compared to 5 mM of K. The fruit equatorial diameter showed significant differences among the concentrations of K (Table 1) and varied from highest to lowest as follows: 11>9>(7=5). Polar diameter was equal at 7 and 5 mM of K. The fruit equatorial diameter increased 9.10% at 11 mM compared to 7 and 5 mM of K. The fruit polar and equatorial diameters were greatest in those plants treated with concentrations of 9 and 11 mM of K, respectively. The fruits size in our study was similar to those reported by Moreno-Resendez et al. (2010)MORENO-RESÉNDEZ, A; MEZA-MORALES, H; RODRÍGUEZ-DIMAS, N; REYES-CARRILLO, JL. 2010. Development of muskmelon with different mixtures of vermicompost: sand under greenhouse conditions. Journal of Plant Nutrition 33: 1672-1680..

The fruit equatorial diameter showed a significant and positive correlation with the concentration of K and increased as the concentration of K increased (Table 2); nevertheless, correlation among fruit polar diameter and K concentration was not significant. The fruit yield achieved in those plants treated with 11 mM of K, exceeds 41% of those obtained in field (Camberos & Rios, 2000CAMBEROS UN, RÍOS PC. 2000. Umbral económico para la mosquita blanca de la hoja plateada en melón en la Comarca Lagunera, México. Agrociencia 34: 227-234.). This result confirms that under protected conditions and using nutrient solutions, the fruit average weight increases. The results of present study are consistent with Preciado-Rangel et al. (2002)PRECIADO-RANGEL, P; BACA-CASTILLO, GA; TIRADO-TORRES, JL; KOHASHI-SHIBATA, J; TIJERINA-CHAVEZ, L; MARTÍNEZ-GARZA, A. 2002. Nitrógeno y potasio en la producción de plántulas de melón. Terra Latinoamericana 20: 267-276. who reported that some muskmelon hybrids, showed greatest demand of K and that the different hybrids require different nutritional conditions to show their full potential.

Fruit pulp thickness showed significant differences among the different concentrations of K getting the greatest values in those plants treated with 9 and 11 mM of K (Table 1). Fruit pulp thickness showed significant and positive correlation with the concentration of K in the nutrient solution, displaying a linear relationship, because of, increasing K concentrations resulted in fruit pulp thickness increase (Table 2). These results do not match with those reported by Silva et al. (2014SILVA, MDC; DA SILVA, TJ; BONFIM-SILVA, EM; FARIAS, LDN. 2014. Características produtivas e qualitativas de melão rendilhado adubado com nitrogênio e potássio. Revista Brasileira de Engenharia Agrícola e Ambiental 18: 581-587.) who found a quadratic response for fruit pulp thickness and a linear trend in the fruit size caused by increased fertilization with K.

Table 1
Effect of potassium (K) concentrations in the nutrient solution, on fruit average weight, polar and equatorial diameter, pulp thickness, total soluble solids, firmness, phenols content and antioxidant capacity of muskmelon fruits. Mexico, Instituto Tecnológico de Torreón, 2015.

Pulp firmness showed significant differences between K concentrations, exhibiting greatest value in the concentration of 11 mM of K (Table 1). Pulp firmness showed significant and positive correlation with the concentration of K in the nutrient solution, increasing as the concentration of K increased (Table 2). Also, fruit firmness showed significant and positive correlation with total soluble solids content, because of, as fruit firmness increases, total soluble solids content also increase. In this regard, Lester et al. (2010LESTER, GE; JIFON, JL; MAKUS, DJ. 2010. Impact of potassium nutrition on postharvest fruit quality: Melon (Cucumis melo L.) case study. Plant and Soil 335: 117-131.) indicate that fruit firmness is correlated with the pressure potential (ψp) because K increases the accumulation of sugars (solutes) in fruits (Ribas et al., 2003RIBAS, F; CABELLO, M; MORENO, M; MORENO, A; LÓPEZ-BELLIDO, L. 2003. Influencia del riego y de la aplicación de potasio en la producción del melón (Cucumis melo L.). II: Calidad. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research 1:,79-90.). Similarly, Demiral & Köseoğlu (2005DEMIRAL MA, KÖSEOGLU AT. 2005. Effect of potassium on yield, fruit quality, and chemical composition of greenhouse-grown galia melon. Journal of Plant Nutrition 28: 93-100.) reported this positive relationship among fruit firmness and total soluble solids. From the commercial viewpoint, when fruit firmness increases, acceptance of the muskmelon fruits by the consumer is improved, because they prefer fruits with firm pulp instead of soft and watery (Ribas et al., 2003RIBAS, F; CABELLO, M; MORENO, M; MORENO, A; LÓPEZ-BELLIDO, L. 2003. Influencia del riego y de la aplicación de potasio en la producción del melón (Cucumis melo L.). II: Calidad. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research 1:,79-90.) being 23.6 Newtons the optimal value for fruit firmness in muskmelon (Silva-Dias et al., 2005SILVA-DIAS, N; DUARTE, SN; DE MEDEIROS, JF; VÁSQUEZ, MN. 2005. Calidad Post-cosecha de frutos de melón producidos sobre diferentes niveles de salinidad del suelo y manejo de la fertirrigacion en invernadero. Ingenieria del Agua 12: 117.).

Table 2
Correlation coefficient (Pearson), determination coefficient and simple linear regression equation among potassium concentrations (mM) and dependent variables, phenols content, antioxidant capacity, yield, fresh weight, equatorial diameter, pulp thickness, total soluble solids and firmness of muskmelon fruits. Mexico, Instituto Tecnológico de Torreón, 2015.

Potassium concentrations in the nutrient solution, stimulated significant differences (p<0.05; Table 1) in the soluble solids content, getting the greatest values those fruits from plants treated with 11 mM of K, validating the positive effect of K on fruit quality (Demiral & Koseoglu, 2005DEMIRAL MA, KÖSEOGLU AT. 2005. Effect of potassium on yield, fruit quality, and chemical composition of greenhouse-grown galia melon. Journal of Plant Nutrition 28: 93-100.; Tang et al., 2012TANG, M; ZHAO, H; BIE, Z; LI, Q; XIE, J; SHI, X; YI, H; SUN, Y. 2012. Effect of different potassium levels on growth and quality in two melon cultivars and two growing-seasons. Journal of Food Agriculture & Enviroment 10: 570-575.; Silva et al., 2014SILVA, MDC; DA SILVA, TJ; BONFIM-SILVA, EM; FARIAS, LDN. 2014. Características produtivas e qualitativas de melão rendilhado adubado com nitrogênio e potássio. Revista Brasileira de Engenharia Agrícola e Ambiental 18: 581-587.). Furthermore, the content of total soluble solids showed significant and positive correlation with the concentration of K in the nutrient solution, revealing a linear relationship caused of increasing K concentrations, also the content of total soluble solids increased (Table 2).

The concentration of soluble solids of fruits harvested from plants treated with the concentrations of K exceeded the minimum value (9° Brix) (Table 1) reported as acceptable in market (Mata & Mendez, 2009MATA, NM; MÉNDEZ, NJR. 2009. Efecto de reguladores de crecimiento sobre el epicarpo, mesocarpo y sólidos solubles totales del fruto de melón (Cucumis melo L.) cv. Edisto 47. Revista Científica UDO Agrícola 9: 295-303.). This confirms that transport of sugars to fruits was effective since K has an important role in the transport of solutes through phloem (White & Karley, 2010WHITE PJ, KARLEY AJ. 2010. Cell biology of metals and nutrients. In: HELL, R; MENDEL, RR (eds). Potassium. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer. p.199-224.) and these fruits are considered marketable because total soluble solids are one of the main quality criteria for muskmelon fruits (Budiastuti et al., 2012BUDIASTUTI S, PURNOMO D, SULISTYO TD, RAHARDJO SP, DARSONO L, PARDJO V. 2012. The enhancement of melon fruit quality by application of the fertilizer and gibberellin. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology 2: 455-460.).

The results showed that the increase of K concentration, exhibited an increase in phenols content and antioxidant capacity, both characteristics showed greatest values in the concentration of 11 mM of K (p<0.05, Table 1); which is an advantage since the fruits with greatest phytonutrients content have great interest because their consumption is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers types (Llacuna & Mach, 2012LLACUNA, L; MACH, N. 2012. Papel de los antioxidantes en la prevención del cáncer. Revista Española de Nutrición Humana y Dietética 16: 16-24.). The antioxidant compounds are essential in the nutritional quality of fruits and are rated an essential factor in determining their price in the market (Frusciante et al., 2007FRUSCIANTE, L; CARLI, P; ERCOLANO, MR; PERNICE, R; DI MATTEO, A; FOGLIANO, V; PELLEGRINI, N. 2007. Antioxidant nutritional quality of tomato. Molecular Nutrition Food Research 51: 609-617.). Lester et al. (2010LESTER, GE; JIFON, JL; MAKUS, DJ. 2010. Impact of potassium nutrition on postharvest fruit quality: Melon (Cucumis melo L.) case study. Plant and Soil 335: 117-131.) found that muskmelon fruits from plants treated with different sources of K had greatest content of antioxidants compared with untreated fruits.

The beneficial effects of K supplement to the plant were presumably result of a combination of an improvement in the assimilation of CO2, higher photosynthetic activity and greatest translocation of photoassimilates from leaves to fruits, improved water relations, greater enzyme activity and substrate availability for the biosynthesis of bioactive compounds; so the amount of antioxidants of a plant is also a good indicator of stress tolerance (Kusvuran et al., 2012KUSVURAN, S; ELLIALTIOGLU, S; YASAR, F; ABAK, K. 2012. Antioxidative enzyme activities in the leaves and callus tissues of salt-tolerant and salt-susceptible melon varieties under salinity. African Journal of Biotechnology 11: 635-641.).

Phenols content and antioxidant capacity showed significant and positive correlation with the concentration of K in the nutrient solution, with a linear relationship caused by the concentration of K increased in the nutrient solution; the values of both variables also increased (Table 2), demonstrating that K contributes significantly to the antioxidant capacity and phenols content in muskmelon fruits. The current study demonstrated that the concentrations of 9 and 11 mM of K positively influenced the increased yield and fruit quality of muskmelon. The best concentration to maximize yield and quality of muskmelon fruits was 11 mM of K. Given the linear trend of all characteristics (except fruit polar diameter) to increase their values as concentrations of K increased, it evidences that the optimal dose of K in muskmelon is greater than 11 mM, suggesting, for future research, to evaluate concentrations of K above 11 mM.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Thanks to Lidia Hirales-Lucero, Pedro Luna-García and Manuel Salvador Trasviña-Castro for technical support. Diana Dorantes-Fischer for English edition is gratefully acknowledged. The corresponding author is grateful to Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (Mexico) by supporting the modality of sabbatical stays abroad within the framework of the national call support for sabbatical stays related to the consolidation of research groups and/or strengthening of the national postgraduate program (2017-I).

REFERENCES

  • ARELLANO JDJE, COTA ML, NÁJERA SL. 2011. Posibilidades y restricciones para la exportación de melón cantaloupe producido en el Municipio de Mapimí, Durango, México al mercado de los Estados Unidos. Revista Mexicana de Agronegocios 15: 593-604.
  • BECKLES DM. 2012. Factors affecting the postharvest soluble solids and sugar content of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) fruit. Postharvest Biology Technology 63: 129-140.
  • BRAND-WILLIAMS W, CUVELIER ME, BERSET C. 1995. Use of a free radical method to evaluate antioxidant activity. Lebenmittel-Wissenschaft und Technologie 28:25-30.
  • BUDIASTUTI S, PURNOMO D, SULISTYO TD, RAHARDJO SP, DARSONO L, PARDJO V. 2012. The enhancement of melon fruit quality by application of the fertilizer and gibberellin. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology 2: 455-460.
  • CAMBEROS UN, RÍOS PC. 2000. Umbral económico para la mosquita blanca de la hoja plateada en melón en la Comarca Lagunera, México. Agrociencia 34: 227-234.
  • CONSTÁN-AGUILAR C, LEYVA R, BLASCO B, SÁNCHEZ-RODRÍGUEZ E, SORIANO T, RUIZ JM. 2014. Biofortification with potassium: antioxidant responses during postharvest of cherry tomato fruits in cold storage. Acta Physiologiae Plantarum 36: 283-293.
  • DEMIRAL MA, KÖSEOGLU AT. 2005. Effect of potassium on yield, fruit quality, and chemical composition of greenhouse-grown galia melon. Journal of Plant Nutrition 28: 93-100.
  • ESPARZA-RIVERA, JR; STONE, MB; STUSHNOFF, C; PILON-SMITS, E; KENDALL, PA. 2006. Effects of ascorbic acid applied by two hydro cooling methods on physical and chemical properties of green leaf lettuce stored at 5°C. Journal of Food Science 71: 270-276.
  • FAOSTAT. 2014. Web site database. Available at http://faostat3.fao.org/faostat-gateway/go/to/browse/rankings/commodities_by_regions/S
    » http://faostat3.fao.org/faostat-gateway/go/to/browse/rankings/commodities_by_regions/S
  • FISCHER, UA; JAKSCH, AV; CARLE, R; KAMMERER, DR. 2013. Influence of origin source, different fruit tissue and juice extraction methods on anthocyanin, phenolic acid, hydrolysable tannin and isolariciresinol contents of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) fruits and juices. European Food Research and Technology 237: 209-221.
  • FRUSCIANTE, L; CARLI, P; ERCOLANO, MR; PERNICE, R; DI MATTEO, A; FOGLIANO, V; PELLEGRINI, N. 2007. Antioxidant nutritional quality of tomato. Molecular Nutrition Food Research 51: 609-617.
  • HAFSI, C; DEBEZ, A; ABDELLY, C. 2014. Potassium deficiency in plants: effects and signaling cascades. Acta Physiologiae Plantarum 36: 1055-1070.
  • HALLMANN, E; REMBIAŁKOWSKA, E. 2012. Characterization of antioxidant compounds in sweet bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) under organic and conventional growing systems. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 92: 2409-2415.
  • KUSVURAN, S; ELLIALTIOGLU, S; YASAR, F; ABAK, K. 2012. Antioxidative enzyme activities in the leaves and callus tissues of salt-tolerant and salt-susceptible melon varieties under salinity. African Journal of Biotechnology 11: 635-641.
  • LESTER, GE; JIFON, JL; MAKUS, DJ. 2010. Impact of potassium nutrition on postharvest fruit quality: Melon (Cucumis melo L.) case study. Plant and Soil 335: 117-131.
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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    Apr-Jun 2018

History

  • Received
    09 Nov 2016
  • Accepted
    10 Dec 2017
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