Impacts of Alternative Cropping Systems on Fruit Quality: Opportunities for Collaborative Research

T G McCollum, E N Rosskopf, N Kokalis-Burelle, D Butler, M G Bausher

Abstract


Methyl bromide (MB) is a soil fumigant that has been critical for the production of vegetable crops, cut flowers, and strawberries in Florida. However, the continued phase-out of soil uses of this broad-spectrum fumigant necessitates the implementation of alternatives for controlling soilborne pests. Significant research efforts continue and have resulted in some effective, environmentally less harmful, and more sustainable alternatives to MB soil fumigation. Such research is focused primarily on the effects of MB-alternatives on soilborne pest control and yield of crops of interest, with little attention given to potential effects on product quality. However, it is possible that alternative production practices may have an impact on fruit and vegetable quality. Because significant amounts of produce are generated in mid- to large-scale field trials, the opportunity exists for a collaborative research effort to determine if alternative production practices impact postharvest quality. We have quantified standard fruit quality parameters for tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, cantaloupe melons, and watermelons produced in field trials testing alternative fumigants, transplant grafting, and biologically-based alternative cropping systems as alternatives to MB. Important components of these trials will be presented along with perspectives related to conducting such investigations.


Keywords


methyl bromide, soil fumigants, grafting

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283