The feasability of using reclaimed water (RW) to irrigate nectarines in Apulia, to reduce sea-water intrusion, has been studied in an orchard for 3-years. While the primary water quality parameters were significantly higher in RW than in fresh water (FW), concentrations were below the phytotoxic threshold that would cause significant yield losses under good management practices. In general, fruit quality parameters of nectarines, total phenolics and antioxidant compounds were higher in fruits irrigated with RW than FW, because of higher nutrients and salinity in the RW treatment. Lower firmness values were observed in RW-treated fruits implying early ripening. Overall, no yield differences were found between FW and RW-treated trees during the three year study. However, the RW treatment significanly reduced the number of fruits but this reduction was compensated by a larger individual fruit weight. While this 3yr-study has demonstrated that reclaimed water is a feasable alternative to freshwater in areas in southern Italy, further long-term studies are still needed to show the beneficial effects of RW on nectarine fruit yield and quality.

Use of reclaimed wastewater on fruit quality of nectarine in Southern Italy

Pedrero, Francisco
;
Camposeo, Salvatore;Vivaldi, Gaetano Alessandro
2018

Abstract

The feasability of using reclaimed water (RW) to irrigate nectarines in Apulia, to reduce sea-water intrusion, has been studied in an orchard for 3-years. While the primary water quality parameters were significantly higher in RW than in fresh water (FW), concentrations were below the phytotoxic threshold that would cause significant yield losses under good management practices. In general, fruit quality parameters of nectarines, total phenolics and antioxidant compounds were higher in fruits irrigated with RW than FW, because of higher nutrients and salinity in the RW treatment. Lower firmness values were observed in RW-treated fruits implying early ripening. Overall, no yield differences were found between FW and RW-treated trees during the three year study. However, the RW treatment significanly reduced the number of fruits but this reduction was compensated by a larger individual fruit weight. While this 3yr-study has demonstrated that reclaimed water is a feasable alternative to freshwater in areas in southern Italy, further long-term studies are still needed to show the beneficial effects of RW on nectarine fruit yield and quality.
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