Decrease in Florida citrus acidity over the last fifty years

Paul F. Cancalon


Data accumulated since 1949 have revealed a persistent trend in citrus juice composition. The changes are particularly important in the area of juice acidity. During that period, orange juice acidity has decreased by 27% and that of grapefruit juice by 30%. On the contrary, degree Brix values have remained fairly constant. As a consequence, Brix/Acid ratios have increased considerably. Multiple factors may have play a role in these changes. Over these fifty years many cultivars and rootstocks have been replaced and these substitutions appear to have affected acid levels. Several other factors have to be taken into account, among them: weather patterns (rain, temperature), and migration of the production areas. The replanting of the groves from the North Central area of the growing zone toward the South for oranges and toward the East coast for grapefruit, appears to be the original cause for the changes in juice composition. The new trees differ from the old ones not only by their location but often by the cultivar and the rootstock.


citrus cultivars; fruit acidity; grapefruit; orange; rootstock

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