Abstract The present study involves the chemical and bacteriological analysis of water from different sources i.e., bore, wells, bottle, and tap, from Peshawar, Mardan, Swat and Kohat districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, Pakistan. From each district, 50 water samples (10 samples from each source), regardless of urban and rural status, were collected from these sources and analysed for sulphates, nitrates, nitrites, chlorides, total soluble solids and coliforms (E. coli). Results indicated that majority of the water sources had unacceptable E. coli count i.e.> 34 CFU/100mL. E. coli positive samples were high in Mardan District, followed by Kohat, Swat and Peshawar district. Besides this, the some water sources were also chemically contaminated by different inorganic fertilizers (nitrates/nitrites of sodium, potassium) but under safe levels whereas agricultural and industrial wastes (chloride and sulphate compounds) were in unsafe range. Among all districts, the water quality was found comparatively more deteriorated in Kohat and Mardan districts than Peshawar and Swat districts. Such chemically and bacteriologically unfit water sources for drinking and can cause human health problems.
Abstract ‘ Kinnow’ mandarin (Citrus nobilis L.× Citrus deliciosa T.) is an important marketable fruit of the world. It is mainstay of citrus industry in Pakistan, having great export potential. But out of total production of the country only 10% of the produce meets the international quality standard for export. Pre-harvest fruit drop and poor fruit quality could be associated with various issues including the plant nutrition. Most of the farmers do not pay attention to the supply of micro nutrients which are already deficient in the soil. Furthermore, their mobility within plants is also a question. Zinc (Zn) is amongst those micronutrients which affect the quality and postharvest life of the fruit and its deficiency in Pakistani soils is already reported by many researchers. Therefore, this study was carried out to evaluate the influence of pre-harvest applications of zinc sulfate (ZnSO4; 0, 0.4%, 0.6% or 0.8%) on pre-harvest fruit drop, yield and fruit quality of ‘Kinnow’ mandarin at harvest. The treatments were applied during the month of October i.e. 4 months prior to harvest. The applied Zn sprays had significant effect on yield and quality of the “Kinnow” fruit. Amongst different foliar applications of ZnSO4applied four months before harvest, 0.6% ZnSO4 significantly reduced pre-harvest fruit drop (10.08%) as compared to untreated control trees (46.45%). Similarly, the maximum number of fruits harvested per tree (627), fruit weight (192.9 g), juice percentage (42.2%), total soluble solids (9.5 °Brix), ascorbic acid content (35.5 mg 100 g-1) and sugar contents (17.4) were also found significantly higher with 0.6% ZnSO4 treatment as compared to rest of treatments and control. Foliar application of 0.6% ZnSO4 also significantly improved total antioxidants (TAO) and total phenolic contents (TPC) in fruit. In conclusion, foliar spray of ZnSO4 (0.6%) four months prior to harvest reduced pre-harvest fruit drop, increase yield with improved quality of ‘Kinnow’ mandarin fruit.
Tomato plants respond well to potassium fertilization, whose insufficiency leads to a drop in fruit production and quality. On the other hand, the association of growth-promoting fungi (GPF) with roots has been shown to be able to optimize nutrient absorption, which implies lower financial costs and a decreased risk of loss of K applied to the soil. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of inoculation with GPF and K rates on the postharvest quality of grape tomato hybrid ‘Mascot’ grown in a hydroponic system. The plants were cultivated in a hydroponic drip system using washed and sterilized sand as substrate. They were trained with two stems, leaving three bunches per stem. The experiment was carried out in a splitsplit-plot arrangement in a completely randomized design with three replicates. Ripe fruits were stored for 30 days in PET containers in storage chambers at a temperature of 25 °C. After 0, 10, 20 and 30 days of storage, five fruits were collected to determine the titratable acidity (TA) and soluble solids (SS), reducing sugars (RS) and vitamin C contents. The K rates provided an increase in the quality attributes. At low K rates, inoculation with GPF led to higher TA, SS, RS and vitamin C values. Inoculation of the plants with GPF improved the postharvest preservation of the fruits, especially when the plants underwent nutritional stress during cultivation.
Compact bunches have been often associated with higher susceptibility to Botrytis cinerea and therefore reduction in berry quality in grapevine. The objective of this study was to evaluate three management methods (early leaf removal, gibberellic acid, and their combination) for reducing bunch compactness in Vitis vinifera cv. Pinot gris trained in two different training systems with contrasting vigor (Guyot and pergola). Treatments were applied at BBCH 62 or BBCH 65 and yield components, total soluble solids, fruit set, and bunch compactness parameters were evaluated. Both treatments individually reduced berry number, mean bunches weight and bunches compactness as well as yield per vine when compared to control-untreated vines. However, no major differences were observed when both the treatments were applied in combination for Guyot or pergola although a higher reduction in yield was detected for Guyot and a significant increase in total soluble solids was observed in pergola. Our study suggests that intense leaf removal and gibberellic acid applied at early flowering can help reducing bunch compactness in Pinot gris and showing it in two training systems. In particular, leaf removal represents a valuable alternative to plant growth regulators (i.e., gibberellic acid) as applicable in organic viticulture.
This study investigated the effect of gum Arabic and starch-based coating and two polyliners (Liner 1-micro-perforated Xtend® and Liner 2-macro-perforated high-density polyethylene) on whole ‘Wonderful’ pomegranate fruit during cold storage (5 ± 1 °C and 95 ± 2% RH). Uncoated (UC) and coated (GAMS) fruit were packaged into standard open top ventilated cartons (dimensions: 0.40 m long, 0.30 m wide and 0.12 m high) with (GAMS + Liner 1, GAMS + Liner 2, UC + Liner 1 and UC + Liner 2) or without (UC and GAMS) polyliners. After 42 d, treatment GAMS + Liner 1 recorded the least weight loss (4.82%), whilst GAMS recorded lower (8.77%) weight loss than UC + Liner 2 (10.07%). The highest (24.74 mLCO2 kg−1h−1) and lowest (13.14 mLCO2 kg−1h−1) respiration rates were detected in UC and GAMS + Liner 1, respectively. The highest and lowest total soluble solids were recorded for GAMS (16.87 °Brix), and GAMS + Liner 1 (15.60 °Brix) and UC + Liner 1 (15.60 °Brix), respectively. Overall, no decay was detected for coated fruit packaged with either Liner 1 or Liner 2. Therefore, the combination of GAMS with Xtend® polyliners proved to be an effective treatment to maintain the quality of ‘Wonderful’ pomegranates during storage.
Using the framework of aquaphotomics, we have sought to understand the changes within the water structure of kiwifruit juice occurring with changes in temperature. The study focuses on the first (1300–1600 nm) and second (870–1100 nm) overtone regions of the OH stretch of water and examines temperature differences between 20, 25, and 30 °C. Spectral data were collected using a Fourier transform–near-infrared spectrometer with 1 mm and 10 mm transmission cells for measurements in the first and second overtone region, respectively. Water wavelengths affected by temperature variation were identified. Aquagrams (water spectral patterns) highlight slightly different responses in the first and second overtone regions. The influence of increasing temperature on the peak absorbance of the juice was largely a lateral wavelength shift in the first overtone region and a vertical amplitude shift in the second overtone region of water. With the same data set, we investigated the use of external parameter orthogonalisation (EPO) and extended multiple scatter correction (EMSC) pre-processing to assist in building temperature-independent partial least square regression models for predicting soluble solids concentration (SSC) of kiwifruit juice. The interference component selected for correction was the first principal component loading measured using pure water samples taken at the same three temperatures (20, 25, and 30 °C). The results show that the EMSC method reduced SSC prediction bias from 0.77 to 0.1 °Brix in the first overtone region of water. Using the EPO method significantly reduced the prediction bias from 0.51 to 0.04 °Brix, when applying a model made at one temperature (30 °C) to measurements made at another temperature (20 °C) in the second overtone region of water.
Near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy is an important tool for predicting the internal qualities of fruits. Using aquaphotomics, spectral changes between linearly polarized and unpolarized light were assessed on 200 commercially grown yellow-fleshed kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis var. chinensis ‘Zesy002’). Measurements were performed on different configurations of unpeeled (intact) and peeled (cut) kiwifruit using a commercial handheld NIR instrument. Absorbance after applying standard normal variate (SNV) and second derivative Savitzky–Golay filters produced different spectral features for all configurations. An aquagram depicting all configurations suggests that linearly polarized light activated more free water states and unpolarized light activated more bound water states. At depth (≥1 mm), after several scattering events, all radiation is expected to be fully depolarized and interactions for incident polarized or unpolarized light will be similar, so any observed differences are attributable to the surface layers of the fruit. Aquagrams generated in terms of the fruit soluble solids content (SSC) were similar for all configurations, suggesting the SSC in fruit is not a contributing factor here.
Guava is a nutritious fruit that has perishable behavior during storage. We aimed to determine the influences of some edible coatings (namely, cactus pear stem (10%), moringa (10%), and henna leaf (3%) extracts incorporated with gum Arabic (10%)), on the guava fruits’ properties when stored under ambient and refrigeration temperatures for 7, 14, and 21 days. The results revealed that the coating with gum Arabic (10%) only, or combined with the natural plant extracts, exhibited a significant reduction in weight loss, decay, and rot ratio. Meanwhile, there were notable increases in marketability. Moreover, among all tested treatments, the application of gum Arabic (10%) + moringa extract (10%) was the superior treatment for most studied parameters, and exhibited for the highest values for maintaining firmness, total soluble solids, total sugars, and total antioxidant activity. Overall, it was suggested that coating guava with 10% gum Arabic combined with other plant extracts could maintain the postharvest storage quality of the cold-storage guava.