Pilar Mazuela


   Soilless culture permits more control on fertigation parame-                rried out: standard dissolution without (T0) or with (T1) oxygen
ters, especially in arid and semi arid zones with saline water                 supply. The latter was applied once a week, at the last irriga-
irrigation. The objective of this experiment was to study the                  tion of the day. Fertirrigation parameters, yield and fruit quali-
effect of potassium peroxide as an oxygen generator on water                   ty were measured. The results indicate that applying potassium
consumption, yield and quality of a melon (Cucumis melo L)                     peroxide, used as an oxygen supply, stimulates water consump-
crop. The work was carried out in a polycarbonate greenhouse                   tion and improves significantly the water efficiency in melon in
in the Azapa valley, extreme north of Chile. Root oxygenation                  a soilless culture system irrigated with saline water.
was provided by potassium peroxide. Two treatments were ca-

Pilar Mazuela

  El sistema de cultivo sin suelo permite un mayor control so-                 ron dos tratamientos. Se utilizó solución nutritiva estándar (T0)
bre los parámetros de fertirriego, especialmente en zonas áridas               y solución nutritiva con oxigenante (T1). Se evaluaron los pa-
y semiáridas con mala calidad de agua. El objetivo de este tra-                rámetros de fertirrigación, producción y calidad de frutos. Los
bajo fue evaluar la aplicación de un oxigenante en un cultivo                  resultados indican que la aplicación de peróxido de potasio uti-
de melón (Cucumis melo L) y su efecto sobre la producción y                    lizado como oxigenante estimula el consumo hídrico y mejora
consumo hídrico en un sistema de cultivo sin suelo. Para la oxi-               significativamente la eficiencia hídrica de un cultivo de melón
genación de las raíces se utilizó peróxido de potasio. Se hicie-               en sistema de cultivo sin suelo.

Introduction                            distribution of ions that are es-      that hypoxia has negative effects   zu et al., 2008) and in areas of
                                        sential for the development of         on root growth and nutrient con-    the USA (Korkmaz and Default,
   Horticultural technology has         the plant (Sonneveld, 2004),           sumption (Drew, 1983; Zeroni et     2002). The average yield of a
gone through numerous changes           leading to a premature aging           al., 1983), with yield decrease     melon crop is 3.5kg·m-1, and the
in order to satisfy the demands         of the plant, whose effect is ob-      (Cannell and Belford, 1980;         product is absent from the mar-
of the consumers who, apart             served in the diminution of pro-       Morard and Silvestre, 1996; Mo-     kets in the winter months (May
from seeking products of good           ductivity (Tester and Davenport,       rard et al., 2000; Adams, 2002;     to October), thus presenting an
quality, value more and more            2003; Ashraf, 2004; Yamaguchi          Tesi et al. 2003). Urrestarazu      attractive production alternative
the production processes, espe-         and Blumwald, 2005). Sodium            and Mazuela (2005) indicated        (Mazuela, 1999). Nevertheless,
cially those related to environ-        is the predominant cation in           that the application of an oxy-     the main problem that limits
mental care. This is of special         the salinity of the majority of        gen supply based on potassium       horticultural production in the
importance in zones with poor           soils in arid and semi-arid zones      peroxide is effective on plants     Azapa valley is the quantity and
water quality, as it permits pro-       (Kaya et al., 2007). Pardossi et       sensitive to hypoxia, such as       quality of irrigation water. Kaya
viding the plant with the neces-        al. (2002) concluded that the          pepper, and improves the hydric     et al. (2007) concluded that ap-
sary nutrients for its growth and       salt balance in the fertigation        efficiency in case of melon.        plying potassium nitrate in the
development, and at the same            solution avoids excessive wa-             In the extreme north of Chile,   fertigation had a positive effect
time maintains the salt balance         ter consumption under salin-           at the Azapa valley, vegetable      on salt tolerance, avoiding sodi-
in the rhizosphere with low vol-        ity conditions without affecting       production is mainly destined to    um toxicity, and improved yield
ume leaching irrigation. Salinity       yield and quality of a melon           supply large cities with vegeta-    in melon crop. Melon is a crop
affects crop growth because of          crop. Another important factor         bles during the winter, as in the   moderately sensitive to salin-
disorders in the absorption or          is oxygen, as it has been shown        Mediterranean region (Urrestara-    ity (Maas and Hoffman, 1977)

KEYWORDS / Azapa Valley / Chile / Growing Media / Oxygen Supply / Saline Water Management /
Received: 08/17/2009. Modified: 08/25/2010. Accepted: 08/30/2009.

P ilar Mazuela. Doctor in                 Politécnica de Ca r tagena,             Spain. Professor, University       sity of Tarapaca. Av Velas-
   Agronomy, Master of Plant              Spain. Doctor on Intensive              of Ta rapaca, A r ica, Ch ile.     quez 1775, Casilla 6-D, Arica,
   Nutr ition in Hor ticultural           Agriculture in Semi-arid Ar-            Address: Depa r ta mento de        Chile. e-mail pmazuela@uta.cl
   Crops Intensive, Universidad           eas, University of Almería,             Producción Agrícola, Univer-

                OCT 2010, VOL. 35 Nº 10                       0378-1844/10/10/769-03 $ 3.00/0                                                   769
Pilar Mazuela

   O sistema de cultivo sem solo permite um maior controle so-             se dois tratamentos. Utilizou-se solução nutritiva estándar (T0)
bre os parâmetros de fertirrigação, especialmente em zonas ári-            e solução nutritiva com oxigenante (T1). Avaliaram-se os pa-
das e semiáridas com má qualidade de água. O objetivo deste                râmetros de fertirrigação, produção e qualidade de frutos. Os
trabalho foi avaliar a aplicação de um oxigenante em um cul-               resultados indicam que a aplicação de peróxido de potássio uti-
tivo de melão (Cucumis melo L) e seu efeito sobre a produção               lizado como oxigenante estimula o consumo hídrico e melhora
e consumo hídrico em um sistema de cultivo sem solo. Para a                significativamente a eficiência hídrica de um cultivo de melão
oxigenação das raízes se utilizou peróxido de potássio. Fizeram-           em sistema de cultivo sem solo.

which means that it supports         used according to                                           TABLE I
an electric conductivity of up       the recommenda-         FERTIGATION PARAMETERS, TOTAL WATER UPTAKE AND WATER
to 2.5dS·m-1, without affecting      tions of Urresta- EFFICIENCY IN MELON CROP WITHOUT (T0) AND WITH (T1) OxY-
production. In soilless culture      razu and Mazuela                                        GEN SUPPLY
systems, better management of        (2005). Fertigation                               Drainage                  Water uptake Water efficiency
saline water is possible because     was supplied with a                                                              (l·m-2)        (l· kg-1)
of greater control at fertigation,   localised irrigation      Treatment EC (dS m ) pH % drainage
which reduces the saline ef-         system. Every week,
fect on the plants. (Navarro et      for each treatment,          T0          2.64       7.82       18.20            170.39           63.57
al., 1999; Shannon and Grieve,       drained water and            T1          3.07       7.79       14.97            176.80           53.25
1999; Romero et al., 2001; Sav-      drippings were sam-          P            **         ns          *                  *              **
vas et al., 2005; Carmassi et        pled and determina- *, **, and ns: P≤0.05, P≤0.01, P≤0.001. and not significant, respectively.
al., 2007).                          tions were made of
   The objective of this work        the volume, of the
was to study the effect of po-       pH with a mod. 2000 pH me-          refractometer, and expressed in         technicians to control the horti-
tassium peroxide as an oxy-          ter (Crison, Barcelona, Spain),     ºBrix. Dry matter (DM) was              cultural crops in soilless culture
gen generator and the effect on      and of the electrical conductiv-    also measured.                          (Urrestarazu, 2004), and thus,
water consumption in produc-         ity (EC) mod. 525 conductiv-           Each experiment was con-             it is useful to know whether
tion and fruit quality in melon      ity meter (Crison, Barcelona,       ducted using a randomized com-          after treatment applications the
(Cucumus melo L) crop in a           Spain). Chemical analyses of        plete block design using two            values of these parameters are
soilless culture system.             drippers and drainage were also     treatments and three replications.      different. There were significant
                                     performed weekly according to       Each plot (experimental unit)           differences between treatments
Material and Methods                 Gil de Carrasco et al. (1994),      had 12 melon plants. Single t-          in EC, percentage of drainage
                                     using a model 2000i/SP liquid       Student probability was used            and water efficiency, which was
   The work was carried out in       chromatograph (Dionex, Sunny-       to separate the means of treat-         significantly different to the
a polycarbonate greenhouse in        vale, CA, USA) equipped with        ments. The experimental designs         control and linked to a higher
the Azapa valley, extreme north      AS4A anionic and CS12 cationic      and data analysis were based            water uptake. A decrease in the
of Chile, using the Galia type       columns (data not shown). Water     on the procedure described by           oxygen content of the nutrient
melon. Plants were transplanted      consumption was calculated as       Little and Hills (1987) and Pe-         solution, together with a corre-
on 08/14/2006 into bags 1m           the difference in the percent-      tersen (1994). Calculations were        sponding increase in the respi-
long containing as a substrate 25    age of water drained in the two     made with a statistical package         ration rate at a certain time of
liters of diatomite (skeleton fos-   treatments. The water efficiency    (Stagraphics, 1999).                    the day (Hansen, 1977) could
sils with 95% silica), with three    was calculated as the volume of                                             limit growth, at least for part
plants per bag. Harvest ended        water consumed per kg of fruit      Results and Discussion                  of the day, unless the nutrient
on 12/28/2006. The irriga-           produced.                                                                   solution oxygen content was
tion water contained (mmol·l-1)         Two different groups of             Table I shows fertigation pa-        increased, suggesting the need
HCO3- (2.9), Cl- (3.3), Na+ (2.8),   fruits, marketable and non-         rameters, water consumption             to increase the oxygen content
NO3 - (0.1), SO 42- (2.3), Ca 2+     marketable, were established        and efficiency. Water uptake            around midday.
(3.9), Mg2+ (1.9) and K+ (0.3).      using EU regulation L 100/11        of T1 was significantly higher             This suggests that the supply
   Two treatments were carried       as standard (OJUE, 2001). For       than that of the control. This          of oxygen as potassium peroxide
out. The control treatment (T0)      fruit quality, firmness (FF) was    result agrees with that reported        in the nutrient solution stimu-
only the standard nutrient solu-     measured on three melon fruits      in tomato (Morard et al., 2000)         lates water consumption under
tion, similar to that reported by    per replication and treatment       and sweet pepper (Urrestara-            high salinity conditions, as re-
Sonneveld and Straver (1994),        using a pressuretester (7.9mm       zu and Mazuela, 2005) when              ported by Kaya et al. (2003,
was used. In the second treat-       diameter pressure-tester needle)    plants were grown in soilless           2007). More temporarily avail-
ment (T1), Liberoxi® (1g·l-1)        and expressed in terms of kg·m2     culture with oxygen supply.             able oxygen could be the reason
was added once a week to the         of crop surface. Total soluble      The values of EC, pH and the            for a higher water absorption,
same nutrient solution. Liber-       solid (SS) contents were mea-       percentage of drainage are of           and using the oxygen depletion
oxy® contains ~7% potassium          sured in the juice from three       interest, because in practice           concept of as defined by Gild-
peroxide. A dose of 1g·l-1 was       fruits per replication, using a     they are used by growers and            erød and Adams (1983), a high-

770                                                                                                       OCT 2010, VOL. 35 Nº 10
er consumption in T1 can be                              TABLE II                                                                 A comparson between tho meth-
assumed. Sonneveld and Voogt                                                                                                      ods to control nutrient delivery
                                       YIELD AND QUALITY PARAMETERS IN MELON CROP                                                 to greenhouse melons grown in
(2001) have shown that roots             WITHOUT (T0) AND WITH (T1) OxYGEN SUPPLY                                                 reciculating nutrient solution cul-
are versatile enough to take up                                                                                                   ture. Sci. Hort. 92: 89-95.
water and nutrients from the                                   Yield                           Quality
                                                                                                                             Petersen RG (1994) Agricultural Field
parts in better conditions, while     Treatment         kg·m   2
                                                                        Nº     SS (ºBrix) FF (kg)             % DM                Experiments. Dekker. New York,
the rest of the roots are under                                     fruits/m-2                                                    USA.409 pp.
more limiting conditions. This                                                                                               Romero AR, Soria T, Cuartero J
                                            T0          2.68           2.50      14.89     3.20                9.66               (2001) Tomato plant water up-
does not affect production. Even            T1          3.32           3.75      14.56     3.13                9.68               take and plant water relationships
though these studies have been              P            ns             ns        ns        ns                  ns                under saline growth conditions.
carried out to study water and                                                                                                    Plant Sci. 160: 265-272.
nutrients, they could be equally      ns: not significant.
                                                                                                                             Savvas D, Meletiou G, Margariti S,
                                      SS: soluble solids, FF: fruit firmness, DM: dry matter.
valid for oxygen absorption. Fur-                                                                                                 Tsirogiannis I (2005) Modelling
ther research on the effect of                                                                                                    the relationship between water
                                                                                                                                  uptake by Cucumber and NaCl
oxygen content distribution in         ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS                               content and acid requement of re-           accumulation in a closed hydro-
the root environment on certain                                                       circulating nutrients solutions and         ponic system. HortScience 40:
crop parameters, as has been                                                          it the uptake of water and potas-           802-807.
                                        The author thanks J.C. Flores                 sium by cucumber and tomato
done for other fertigation studies    (IAI-UTA) for critical discus-                  plants. Sci. Hort. 21: 311-321.
                                                                                                                             Shannon MC, Grieve CM (1999)
are needed.                                                                                                                       Tolerance of vegetable crops to
                                      sion of the manuscript. This               Hansen GK (1977) Adaption to photo-              salinity. Sci. Hort. 78: 5-38.
   Table II shows yield and fruit     work was supported by the                       synthesis and diurnal oscillation
quality parameters. There was                                                         of root respiration rates for Lo-      Sonneveld C (2004) La nutrición min-
                                      University of Tarapaca, Arica,                  lium multiflorum. Physiol. Plant            eral y salinidad en los cultivos
no significant differences in         Chile, project UTA 9720-08.                                                                 sin suelo: su manejo. In Urresta-
                                                                                      39: 275-279.
yield and quality of melon with                                                                                                   razu M (Ed.) Tratado de Cultivo
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                 OCT 2010, VOL. 35 Nº 10                                                                                                                        771

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