Potassium nutrition and postharvest moisture loss in carrots (Daucus carota L.)
Toivonen, P M A
Upadhyaya, M K
Shibairo, S I
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The effect of potassium (K) nutrition on the shelf life of carrots was studied using a hydroponics system involving rockwool slabs as support. Carrots were grown for 192 days under greenhouse conditions and supplied with 0, 0.1, 1.0, 10, and 15 mm of K. Increase in K concentration in the nutrient medium decreased postharvest weight loss. Carrot weight and tissue K content increased and water potential, osmotic potential, and relative solute leakage decreased with increasing K concentration in the nutrient feed. Differences in postharvest weight loss were mainly associated to root weight and relative solute leakage. Root weight correlated negatively and relative solute leakage correlated positively to water loss. Water and osmotic potential also correlated to water loss, but not as strongly as root weight and relative solute leakage. These results suggest that K nutrition influences post harvest weight loss by influencing carrot size and membrane integrity. Effects on cell water and osmotic potential are also important in this regard but to a lesser extent.