Potassium chloride enhances fruit appearance and improves quality of fertigated greenhouse tomato as compared to potassium nitrate

B. P. Chapagain, Z. Wiesman, M. Zaccai, P. Imas, H. Magen

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    32 Scopus citations


    The effects of potassium chloride (KCl) as a potassium (K) source in fertigation solution on growth, yield and quality of tomato (cv. Durinta) in a controlled greenhouse were compared with potassium nitrate (KNO3) - the conventional K source for vegetable fertigation. The treatments consisted of four levels of KCl: (1) 0% KCl (100% KNO3), (2) 40% KCl (40% KCl and 60% KNO3), (3) 60% KCl (60% KCl and 40% KNO3), and (4) 100% KCl (0% KNO3) in fertigation solution in the season 1999-2000. In 2000-2001, early (12 days after planting) and late (47 days after planting) applications of 100% KCl and 0% KCl were tested. The concentrations of K and other major nutrients were similar in all the treatments. Ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3), calcium nitrate [Ca(NO3)2] and nitric acid (HNO3) were used as nitrogen (N) sources in KCl treatments. Electrical conductivity (EC) of all solutions ranged from 1.8 to 2.1 dS m-1; pH range was from 6.6 to 7.1. Perlite was used as a neutral growing medium. Plant height, time to anthesis, time to harvest, and leaf nutrient content were monitored. Total yield, average fruit weight and number, and fruit size were measured after harvest. The appearance and quality of the fruits were rated following cold storage simulation for export conditions. None of the plants showed chloride (Cl) toxicity symptoms. No significant differences in yield components and plant growth were recorded among the treatments. Fruit dry matter, total soluble solids (TSS), glucose, titrable acidity (TA), pH, and EC of juice after simulation storage were not affected by the K source. Interestingly, fruit firmness, and freshness of calyx were significantly improved, while the number of rotten and blotchy fruits was significantly decreased in KCl treatments. The fruit nitrate (NO3) content was decreased whereas iron (Fe) content was significantly increased in KCl treatments. The results show that KCl can be used as a substitute for KNO3 without detrimental effects on plant development and yield, while significantly improving some important quality parameters. It is concluded that KNO3 can be replaced fully or partially (depending on water quality) by KCl in tomato production while improving the quality of fruits.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)643-658
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Plant Nutrition
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - 10 Mar 2003

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Physiology
    • Agronomy and Crop Science


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