• Yield and Postharvest Quality of Cantaloupe Melons as Affected by Calcium Foliar Applications

      Fonseca, Jorge; Byrne, David N.; Baciewicz, Patti; The University of Arizona - Yuma Agricultural Center (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2005-12)
      The effect of pre-harvest foliar application of calcium on yield and postharvest quality of whole and fresh-cut cantaloupe melons was investigated. The calcium product (Nutrical®) was applied five times before harvest to a melon field at 2 quarts/acre with a volume of 50 gallons/acre. The supplemented calcium increased by over 10% the weight of melons and increased external firmness at harvest but soluble solids was lower in treated melons than in the control. After 21 days of storage at 40 - 45 °F however, there was not difference in quality factors. Melons were processed in cubes and packaged in plastic lidded containers. The overall quality of calcium treated cubes was better after 5 and 10 days of storage. Juice leakage was also higher in the control than in the treated fruits after 5 days. After 10 days the L* values were lower in the control than in the treated fruits indicating that the tissue was darker in the control, which was an indicative of more water soaked tissue. In further trials conducted the following Spring the results obtained at harvest showed differences only in weight of melons that underwent water stress. The overall results in different experiments in the Yuma area indicate that application of foliar calcium can increase yield of melon crops, notably, when the plants undergo environmental stress.