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Yield and fruit quality of apple from conventional and organic production systems

Rendimento e qualidade de maçãs em pomares conduzidos nos sistemas convencional e orgânico de produção

The objective of this study was to assess the yield and fruit quality of apple produced with a conventional and an organic production systems in Southern Brazil. The orchards consisted of alternate rows from 10 to 12-year old 'Royal Gala' and 'Fuji' apple trees on M.7 rootstocks, grown as slender spindles, on 4x6 m spacing. Eighteen apple trees of each cultivar and management system were randomly selected and assessed for nutrition, flowering, fruit set, yield, and fruit quality during two growing seasons (2002/2003 and 2003/2004). The organic management system resulted in lower concentrations of K, Mg, and N in leaves and fruits, and in smaller fruits for both cultivars, and lower fruit yield for 'Fuji' than from the conventional production system. For both cultivars, fruits from the organic orchard harvested at commercial maturity had a more yellowish skin background color, higher percentage of blush in the fruit skin, higher soluble solids content, higher density, higher flesh firmness, and higher severity of russet than fruits from the conventional orchard. Fruit from the organic orchard had lower titratable acidity in 'Royal Gala', and higher incidence of moldy core and lower incidence of watercore in 'Fuji', than fruit from the conventional orchard. A non-trained sensory panel detected no significant differences for fruit attributes of taste, flavor and texture between fruit from the production systems for either cultivar.

Malus domestica; decay; fruit; physicochemical characteristics; physiological disorders

Embrapa Secretaria de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento; Pesquisa Agropecuária Brasileira Caixa Postal 040315, 70770-901 Brasília DF Brazil, Tel. +55 61 3448-1813, Fax +55 61 3340-5483 - Brasília - DF - Brazil