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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Hilo, Hawaii » Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center » Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #303604

Title: Influence of calcium foliar fertilization on plant growth, nutrient concentrations, and fruit quality of papaya.

item MADANI, BABAK - Universiti Putra Malaysia
item Wall, Marisa
item MIRSHEKARI, A. - Yasouj University
item BAH, A. - Universiti Putra Malaysia
item MOHAMED, M.T.M. - Universiti Putra Malaysia

Submitted to: HortTechnology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/18/2015
Publication Date: 8/22/2015
Citation: Madani, B., Wall, M.M., Mirshekari, A., Bah, A., Mohamed, M. 2015. Influence of calcium foliar fertilization on plant growth, nutrient concentrations, and fruit quality of papaya. HortTechnology. 25:496-504.

Interpretive Summary: Calcium is a critical plant nutrient for improving growth and quality of papaya fruits. In net house and field studies, preharvest foliar applications of calcium on young papaya plants and on established fruiting plants had a positive impact on growth, root development, leaf mineral content, and fruit quality. Increasing concentrations of foliar calcium fertilization increased calcium in papaya fruit peel and pulp, improved texture and flavor, and decreased postharvest disease. Integration of preharvest and postharvest calcium treatments could reduce papaya postharvest losses during the supply chain and retaining overall quality of this high-value fruit.

Technical Abstract: Calcium (Ca) is a major plant nutrient that affects cell wall and plasma membrane formation and plays a key role in plant growth and biomass production. It can be used to decrease fruit decay and increase firmness and shelf life. So far, little attention has been paid to investigate the effects of foliar application of Ca on papaya, especially the variety ‘Eksotika II’. Therefore, different sources and concentrations of Ca were examined for the effects on nutrient concentration and growth of papaya plants. Papaya seedlings were established in pots and irrigated with a standard nutrient solution in a net house. Four pre-harvest sprays were applied as foliar applications with three different sources of Ca (calcium chloride, calcium nitrate and calcium propionate) at four concentrations (0, 60, 120 and 180 mg'L-1). Results showed that plant Ca concentration was not affected by the different Ca sources. However, increased Ca concentration applied to the leaves enhanced plant accumulation of phosphorous (P) and Ca, but decreased potassium (K) and magnesium (Mg) concentrations in the tissues. In addition, there were differences between control and 180 mg'L-1 Ca for stem height and diameter, with the highest measurements for 180 mg'L-1 Ca. In a field trial, pre-harvest applications of calcium chloride (0, 1.5 and 2%) showed that increasing concentrations improved fruit Ca content, texture and flavor, and decreased weight loss, Mg content and disease incidence.