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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: GENETIC IMPROVEMENT OF CITRUS

Location: Subtropical Insects and Horticulture Research

Title: Impacts of Alternative Cropping Systems on Fruit Quality: Opportunities for Collaborative Research

Authors
item McCollum, Thomas
item Rosskopf, Erin
item Burelle, Nancy
item Bausher, Michael
item Butler, David -

Submitted to: Proceedings of Florida State Horticultural Society
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2012
Publication Date: December 17, 2012
Citation: Mccollum, T.G., Rosskopf, E.N., Burelle, N.K., Bausher, M.G., Butler, D. 2012. IMPACTS OF ALTERNATIVE CROPPING SYSTEMS ON FRUIT QUALITY: OPPORTUNITIES FOR COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH. Proceedings of Florida State Horticultural Society. 125:295-299.

Interpretive Summary: Methyl bromide (MB)is a soil fumigant that has been critical for the production of vegetable crops, cut flowers, and strawberries in Florida. However,the continued phase-out of soil uses of this broad-spectrum fumigant necessitates the implementation of alternatives for controlling soil borne pests. Significant research efforts continue and have resulted in some effective, environmentally less harmful, and more sustainable alternatives to MB soil fumigation. Such research is focused primarily on the effects of MB-alternatives on soil borne pest control and yield of crops of interest, with little attention given to potential effects on product quality. However, it is possible that alternative production practices may have impact on fruit and vegetable quality. Because significant amounts of produce are generated in mid- to large-scale field trials, the opportunity exists for a collaborative research effort to determine if alternative production practices impact postharvest quality. We have quantified standard fruit quality parameters for tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, cantaloupe melons, and watermelons produced in field trials testing alternative fumigants, transplant grafting, and biologically-based alternative cropping systems as alternatives to MB. Our results indicate that production practices can affect quality factors for the crops that were included in this study. Such data is important in desigining systems apporaches for sustainability.

Technical Abstract: Methyl bromide (MB) is a soil fumigant that has been critical for the production of vegetable crops, cut flowers, and strawberries in Florida. However, the continued phase-out of soil uses of this broad-spectrum fumigant necessitates the implementation of alternatives for controlling soil borne pests. Significant research efforts continue and have resulted in some effective, environmentally less harmful, and more sustainable alternatives to MB soil fumigation. Such research is focused primarily on the effects of MB-alternatives on soil borne pest control and yield of crops of interest, with little attention given to potential effects on product quality. However, it is possible that alternative production practices may have impact on fruit and vegetable quality. Because significant amounts of produce are generated in mid- to large-scale field trials, the opportunity exists for a collaborative research effort to determine if alternative production practices impact postharvest quality. We have quantified standard fruit quality parameters for tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, cantaloupe melons, and watermelons produced in field trials testing alternative fumigants, transplant grafting, and biologically-based alternative cropping systems as alternatives to MB. Important components of these trials will be presented along with perspectives related to conducting such investigations.

Last Modified: 8/30/2014
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