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  • 28-07-2022

How to ensure good production and quality food?

The world is undergoing a dramatic transformation that, far from stopping, will escalate in the coming years. This becomes evident in the agricultural sector, which has made a great leap forward in just a few decades from a traditional sector to a much more advanced and competitive one.

The production of quality food for the consumer is a top priority for companies operating in the agricultural market, since this is how to give the final customer what he demands. Consumers are becoming more and more educated and aware of what they consume and what they want to consume.

But what is meant by fruit quality?

When we talk about quality in fruits and vegetables, we want to talk about plant heritage, nutrition, gastronomy, organoleptic properties, taste, agriculture, preservation of rural environment, health and people.

Regardless of the type of agriculture, users want to find and buy fruits and vegetables full of flavor that meet the following requirements:

  • Genuine flavor, offering the original unique smell and taste to respect our palate and gastronomy.
  • Original and complete nutritional value, so each variety provides the expected nutrients in each intake.
  • Reasonable and affordable price to enjoy a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

The composition of fruits and vegetables can be technically evaluated with laboratory instruments and equipment in order to quantitatively assess their quality. These assessments take into account the following properties:

 

  • Color. It should be uniform, homogeneous and bright all over the fruit.
  • Size and weight. They should be uniform and similar between pieces.
  • Texture/Firmness. It is the force acting on a fruit or vegetable that shows its resistance to a physical action. The lower the firmness, the higher the degree of ripeness.
  • pH: The pH of fruits and vegetables varies depending on the type and their ripeness. If a particular food is very ripe, it is less acid than the same food but unripe.
  • ºBrix: It is a unit measuring the total soluble solids dissolved in a specific liquid (i.e., its sugar content). Like pH, fruits and vegetables show different brix degrees depending on the type of crop and their ripeness. The higher the value, the riper the fruit.
  • Functional compounds: these are compounds that improve health or prevent a high-prevalence chronic or degenerative disease. These are: vitamin A, B, C and D, calcium, fiber, iron, protein, anthocyanins, lycopene, chlorophylls, etc.

Besides, there are also quality parameters that cannot be measured with laboratory instruments or equipment, but by a human evaluation: these are the so-called organoleptic properties (such as smell, taste, etc.).

 

How can we ensure good fruit quality and production?

The first thing we have to define is that quality and quantity are not opposing parameters.

The quality of the fruit, as well as a good production, will depend on the resources available to the plant. All nutrients are essential for the proper development of the crop, so it is necessary to provide special nutrients for the stages of plant development, flowering, fruit setting (see previous post) and fruit fattening and ripening. For this last phenological stage (fruit fattening and ripening), there are mainly two nutrients of particular relevance: calcium and potassium.

Calcium is a major nutrient for plant development and fruit quality. It addresses water and heat stress contributing in stomatal regulation and in the induction of heat shock proteins, strengthens the cell wall and the fruit uniformity, increasing resistance to attack by external factors as well as pre-harvest quality (avoiding physiological problems, such as bitter pit or apical tomato rot) and post-harvest quality, providing greater hardness and conservation.

Potassium is an essential macronutrient for the plant. It promotes photosynthetic activity, and enhances crop resistance to drought, frost and diseases as it favors the synthesis of lignin, which increases the tissues rigidity and structure. This nutrient also provides firmness to the cells, preserving the water balance. That is why it is the most important component in the regulation of internal osmotic pressure, which is necessary for the proper growth of the plant and the fruit.

Potassium is responsible for stimulating the water content in the cells, making it more permeable and allowing more water in the cells, which promote a greater fattening and quality of the fruit. It also plays a key role in the production of sugars. That is why the contribution of potassium from the fruiting stage is so important in order to ensure good production and quality.

An increase in production is an increase in economic benefit, and it is a consequence of good nutrition provided to the crop and good crop management. Therefore, it is essential to have good nutrition and quality biostimulants intake for improving fruit development and quality, as well as yield, with products based on amino acids, microorganisms, etc.

We know that in recent years the farmer has significantly valued not only the quantity produced but also the quality of the fruit, giving value to parameters such as taste, smell, texture, sweetness, fruit filling, etc. However, consumers are increasingly looking for a product that, besides being of high quality, provides a significant value to their health, such as fruits or vegetables with a higher content of some nutrient such as iron (important for producing hemoglobin), higher content of lycopene (a powerful antioxidant for blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.), higher content of vitamin C (to improve eyesight, skin, joints, etc.).

Herogra Especiales offers products specially designed to ensure good quality, fattening and ripening of the fruit.

Calcifol Plus SN is a calcium complexed with easy-absorption lignosulfonic acid to avoid possible physiopathies caused by the lack of this nutrient in the fruits. We also have the product Calcifol Complex, calcium complexed with lignosulfonic acid which also contains nitrogen, for early stages of crop development, and Herofol Denso Ca-Mg, a product in dense format, which has a laminar effect that guarantees an uniform distribution of nutrients and greater adherent effect, has a wetting effect and an optimum pH, and contains the XR47 activator, which is the only activator in the market that enhances the photosynthetic capacity of the plant.

 

Herogra Especiales also offers a wide variety of fast absorbing potassium-based products. Its flagship product is Herofol Denso Rojo, a NPK product rich in potassium that also contains micronutrients and the XR47 activator, which is the only activator in the market that increase fruit fattening and ripening. In the same product range we have Herofol Denso Amino-K ECO, which is an organic NPK product rich in potassium that also includes in its formulation micronutrients, amino acids and the unique XR47 booster, and Hero K 50 Denso ECO, which is a product with 50% m/v in potassium, certified organic and which also contains the XR47 activator, which is an improver of the photosynthetic capacity of the plant. Graph 1 shows a trial carried out on tomatoes with Herofol Denso Rojo, where an increase in production of 27% was achieved compared to the control area.

 

 

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