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The influence of premature harvesting on the fruit quality of early ripening varieties of apricot: preliminary result

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Authors: J. Egea, P. Martínez‑Gómez, M.S. Almansa, E. Contreras
Issue: 93V-2 (81-93)
Topic: Plant Production
Keywords: apricot, fruit quality, harvesting time

n this paper we study the effect that premature harvesting has on the fruit quality of several early ripening varieties of apricot whose early arrival in the market place is usually rewarded by higher prices.
Fruit quality, as defined by the parameters of firmness, acidity and sugar content, is examined at two different times, one determined by comercial interests and denominated "commercial harvesting time" and other, 2‑3 days later, which we shall call "ideal harvesting time".
The fruit at commercial harvesting time are usually too hard, which has a negative effect on their quality, while the fruit picked at the ideal harvesting time have firmness values very near the desirable maximun. However, the evolution of this parameters depended of the particular variety and so each variety should be considered individually.
As regards the sugar content measured as ºBrix, there were no important differences between the two harvesting times, the varieties themselves showing a much more homogeneous behaviour than for the acidity and firmness parameters. Despite the great differences existing at the commercial picking time between varieties, the sugar content was in general medium to low.
Acidity showed highly significant differences between harvesting times, the much lower values at the ideal time improving the fruit's quality, which is seriously affected by high acidity. However, in this case, too, there were differences between the varieties, some maintaining high levels even at the ideal time.

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