Carrot firmness and yield increased while skin defects reduced by stimulated calcium absorption

Acta Horticulturae
April 2024

Authors

Jolyon Dodgson, Anna K Weston and David J Marks
Levity Crop Science, Rural Business Centre, Myerscough College, Bilsborrow, Preston, PR3 0RY, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Calcium nutrition is important for plant growth. Calcium is absorbed at the tips of the roots and transported in the xylem, which means it bypasses parts of the plant where it is needed. Calcium is important for plant health and postharvest shelf-life as it improves the cell wall strength. In this work a calcium fertilizer (Albina, Levity Crop Science) containing Levity’s LoCal technology (a calcium transport stimulant (MCAS)) to stimulate the absorption of calcium was evaluated. Firstly, carrots were obtained from a UK supermarket and the treatments applied were untreated (water) or Albina without or with the active ingredient. The product with the active ingredient gave significantly fewer skin defects and significantly increased firmness five weeks after treatment. Secondly, work was conducted as split field trials on grower managed sites in the UK. The grower managed all the sites commercially with the only change in management being the application of Albina at the recommended label rate (10 kg ha-1) to the treated sections. Data was collected from three carrot trials (two planted with ‘Polydor’ and one with ‘Nairobi’) prior to harvest, by hand digging four plots per treatment. The collected samples were scored for number of carrots, weight, average weight, skin defects/disease symptoms and firmness. Samples were kept for four months to measure changes in firmness during storage. In one of the field trials the calcium treatment resulted in statistically significant increases of 32% in harvested weight and 33% in average weight. In all three field trials the firmness values of the treated carrots were significantly increased by 27, 21 and 13% after storage for between two and four months depending on harvest date. These results show that the application of a stimulated calcium fertiliser can increase yield, increase firmness and prevent postharvest skin defects and diseases.

Keywords

Daucus carota subsp. sativus, field trial, yield response, disease management, increased storage-life, increased shelf-life, Pythium violae, Pythium sulcatum, calcium transport stimulant (MCAS)

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