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Potassium/Calcium ratio affects quality and colour of Selva strawberries

High-quality fruit production is the cornerstone of marketability. The optimum performance of soil-less plants depends on the well-balanced and prompt availability of minerals in nutrient solutions. In addition to concentration, nutrient ratio also plays an essential role in growth, productivity, quality and nutrient absorption.

Researchers from the Islamic Azad University (Mahabad, Iran) studied the effects of different Potassium:Calcium ratios (K:Ca; 1.6, 1.4, 1.2, 1, 0.85 and 0.6) in nutrient solutions on the quality of remontant Selva strawberries grown using soil-less techniques.

The highest and lowest leaf number and leaf areas were observed for K:Ca ratios 1.4 and 1 respectively. The highest values of fruit pH, conductivity, total soluble solid/titratable acidity ratio, vitamin C content, ellagic acid and colour were observed for K:Ca ratio 1.4. K:Ca ratio 1.6 produced strawberries with a higher protein content, while K:Ca ratio 0.85 was more effective on fruit firmness. 

"The best quality parameters were observed in high K:Ca ratios, while low K:Ca ratios favoured fruit firmness. In general, the nutrient solution with a K:Ca ratio between 1 and 1.6 is suitable for the production of Selva strawberries. For example, K:Ca ratio 1.4 is suitable for the production of soil-less Selva strawberry with a coir and perlite substrate," concluded researchers.

Source: Haghshenas Masoud, Arshad Mousa, Nazarideljou Mohammad Javad, 'Different K:Ca ratios affected fruit color and quality of strawberry 'Selva' in soilless system', 2018, Journal of Plant Nutrition, Vol. 41 (2), pag. 243-252.

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