Foliar applied potassium effects on cantaloupe quality
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Foliar Applied Potassium: Effects on Cantaloupe Quality. Gene Lester, Ph.D. Research Plant Physiologist Weslaco, Texas. 1. Enzyme activation 2. Protein synthesis 3. Cell extension 4. Production of Chloroplasts 5. Transport of Sugars – leaf to fruit 6. Unloading of Sugars – into fruits.

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Foliar applied potassium effects on cantaloupe quality
Foliar Applied Potassium: Effects on Cantaloupe Quality

Gene Lester, Ph.D.

Research Plant Physiologist

Weslaco, Texas


1.Enzyme activation

2.Protein synthesis

3. Cell extension

4.Production of Chloroplasts

5.Transport of Sugars – leaf to fruit

6.Unloading of Sugars – into fruits


  • Ca – fruit firmness, membrane stability

    and extends shelf-life

  • B – Carbohydrate metabolism, sugar

    transport

  • Zn – Carbohydrate metabolism,

    membrane stability

  • Mg – Photosynthesis, CO2 fixation

  • NO3 – Carbohydrate demand



Plant derived K via the soil; Availability problems are due to

  • Soil K concentration

  • Soil pH – pH 8 and lower

  • Moisture conditions

  • K buffering capacity


Quantity of K absorbed by plant roots

  • Transport demand (light, wind, temp.)

  • Soil type (clay > sandy)

  • Root metabolism (extraction efficiency)

  • *Uptake competition (Ca and Mg)

  • *Root tip age (younger > older)

  • *Root growth stage (active > non-active)

  • *Problem: the most efficient and abundant uptake of K is prior to fruiting


Study: potential solution to soil derived K availability problems in melons

  • Foliar spray: K-metalosate @ 24% K

  • Foliar applications – during fruit growth and maturation

  • Timing – None, weekly, bi-weekly

  • Greenhouse plants – potting mix

  • Regular complete soil fertigation schedule which included K


Analyses were problems in melons

  • Days to maturity

  • Fruit weight

  • Fruit firmness

  • K concentration

  • Soluble solids concentration SSC

  • Sugars

  • Ascorbic acid - derived from glucose

  • B-carotene - derived from chloroplasts


Summary weekly applications of foliar k applied to melons
Summary problems in melons: weekly applications of foliar K applied to melons

  • Reduces days to maturity

  • Increases SSC

  • Increases fruit firmness

  • Increases fructose content – sweeter less calories

  • Increases total sugar content

  • Increases ascorbic acid (Vit. C) content

  • Increasedb-carotene (pro Vit. A) content


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