Influence of Preharvest Water Stress on Postharvest Weight Loss of Carrots (Daucus carota L.)
Shibairo, Solomon I
Upadhyaya, M K
Toivonen, P M A
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To understand the relationship between preharvest water stress and postharvest weight loss, carrot cultivars Eagle and Paramount were grown in muck soil in 6-L pots (eight carrots per pot) in a greenhouse at the Univ. of British Columbia. The plants were watered to field capacity every second day for 4 months before receiving 100, 75, 50, and 25% field capacity water stress treatments, henceforth referred to as low, medium, high, and severe water stress, respectively. Postharvest weight loss of carrots was monitored at 13°C and 32% relative humidity. Carrot weight loss increased with duration of storage in all treatments. It was low in the low-water-stressed and high in severely water-stressed carrots for both cultivars. Root crown diameter, weight, water, and osmotic potential decreased, and specific surface area and relative solute leakage increased with increasing preharvest water stress. Water potential followed by relative solute leakage were the variables that affected weight loss the most. The results show that carrots adjust to water stress by lowering water and osmotic potential. Preharvest water stress lowers membrane integrity of carrot roots making them lose more moisture during storage.