Adapting fruit production to climate change: how to increase intrinsic fruit quality and save water through deficit irrigation scheduling.

Venturi, Melissa (2023) Adapting fruit production to climate change: how to increase intrinsic fruit quality and save water through deficit irrigation scheduling., [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze e tecnologie agrarie, ambientali e alimentari, 35 Ciclo.
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Fruit crops are an important resource for food security, since more than being nutrient they are also a source of natural antioxidant compounds, such as polyphenols and vitamins. However, fruit crops are also among the cultivations threatened by the harmful effects of climate change This study had the objective of investigating the physiological effects of deficit irrigation on apple (2020-2021), sour cherry (2020-2021-2022) and apricot (2021-2022) trees, with a special focus on fruit nutraceutical quality. On each trial, the main physiological parameters were monitored along the growing season: i) stem and leaf water potentials; ii) leaf gas exchanges; iii) fruit and shoot growth. At harvest, fruit quality was evaluated especially in terms of fruit size, flesh firmness and soluble solids content. Moreover, it was performed: i) total phenolic content determination; ii) anthocyanidin concentration evaluation; and iii) untargeted metabolomic study. Irrigation scheduling in apricot, apple and sour cherry is surely overestimated by the decision support system available in Emilia-Romagna region. The water stress imposed on different fruit crops, each during two years of study, showed as a general conclusion that the decrease in the irrigation water did not show a straightforward decrease in plant physiological performance. This can be due to the miscalculation of the real water needs of the considered fruit crops. For this reason, there is the need to improve this important tool for an appropriate water irrigation management. Furthermore, there is also the need to study the behaviour of fruit crops under more severe deficit irrigations. In fact, it is likely that the application of lower water amounts will enhance the synthesis of specialized metabolites, with positive repercussion on human health. These hypotheses must be verified.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Venturi, Melissa
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Fruit tree ecophysiology Deficit irrigation strategies Fruit quality Fruit metabolome
Data di discussione
29 Giugno 2023

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