Deficit irrigation in commercial mandarin treeswater relations, yield and quality responses at harvest and after cold storage

  1. Conesa, María R.
  2. de la Rosa, José M.
  3. Fernández-Trujillo, J. Pablo
  4. Domingo, Rafael
  5. Pérez-Pastor, Alejandro
Spanish journal of agricultural research

ISSN: 1695-971X 2171-9292

Year of publication: 2018

Volume: 16

Issue: 3

Type: Article

DOI: 10.5424/SJAR/2018163-12631 DIALNET GOOGLE SCHOLAR lock_openDialnet editor

More publications in: Spanish journal of agricultural research


Two experiments were conducted on a commercial farm of late ‘Fortune’ mandarin trees in order to know the response of regulated deficit irrigation (RDI), mainly applied during the most harmful ripening stages, on plant water relations, yield and fruit quality at harvest and after cold storage at different temperatures. Control trees were irrigated to satisfy maximum crop evapotranspiration, while RDI-1 and RDI- 2 represented a 20% and 40% reduction, respectively, in the water applied. Total yield and fruit quality at harvest were not significantly affected by either treatment. Late stage II of fruit growth was the most sensitive period to water stress, while deficit irrigation applied during flowering and stage I of fruit growth resulted in a significantly higher number of fruits per tree and an improvement in irrigation water productivity compared with the Control treatment. In both experiments, skin chroma decreased during cold storage, at the same time as titratable acidity fell. Fruit quality (titratable acidity, skin C* and ascorbic and glutamic acids) were more affected by cold storage than by differences between the RDI treatments. The use of trunk diameter fluctuation was useful for restoring the RDI irrigation to levels of the Control at the end of early stage II. From a quality point of view, any difference between treatments found at harvest tended to diminish during the subsequent shelf-life after cold storage. Quality traits (titratable acidity, ascorbic and glutamic acid) could be used as chilling biomarkers.

Funding information

Funding: Seneca Foundation(씀Agency for Science and Technology of the Region of Murcia (19895/GERM/15); Spanish Ministry of Science of Innovation (AGL2016-77282-C3-3-R); European Commission (LIFE13 ENV/ES/000539, LIFE+IRRIMAN); Spanish Ministry of Education (FPU fellowship to MRC). Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist. Correspondence should be addressed to Alejandro Pérez Pastor:

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