Fertilization strategies as a tool to modify the organoleptic properties of raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) fruits
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Raspberry cultivation is increasing all over the world, being these fruits highly appreciated not only for their taste but also for their high content in bioactive compounds. However, the short shelf-life of these fruits limits their fresh consumption and industrial use to a defined time frame. For this reason, setting agronomic strategies aimed at extending the fruit shelf-life represent a prerequisite to ensure the presence of high-quality raspberries on the market for a prolonged time. Therefore, aim of this work was to assess the influence of different nutritional regimes (over-fertilization with NH4+, Si or B) on the firmness and the potential extension of the shelf-life as well as on the quality of raspberry fruits.Raspberry canes (Rubus idaeus) cv. 'Lagorai Plus' were grown in a high tunnel plastic greenhouse and starting from middle July to September raspberry fruits were collected. The over-fertilization with NH4+, Si or B lead to higher yields, increased colour indexes, firmness, sucrose content and sweetness indexes. Furthermore, the fertilizations led to an improved shelf-life due to a significant reduction of fruit darkening and fruit weight loss, which was particularly evident at the end of the incubation.The results of this work highlighted that the modification of the nutritional status of raspberries by adding either Si, B or NH4+ could be helpful in obtaining fruits with improved qualitative parameters. In particular, an increase in the sweetness index and firmness of fruits as well as an extension of the shelf-life could be beneficial for the attractiveness of consumer and also for the possibility of using fruits in the industrial transformations. Moreover, considering the role of Si and B in human health, the bio-fortification programs can become particularly interesting, thus opening the way for new market perspectives of these fruits in addition to the traditional ones.
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