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Effects of deficit irrigation on the yield and irrigation water use efficiency of drip-irrigated sweet pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) under Mediterranean conditions

  • A. Abdelkhalik
  • B. PascualEmail author
  • I. Nájera
  • M. A. Domene
  • C. Baixauli
  • N. Pascual-Seva
Original Paper
  • 107 Downloads

Abstract

Water scarcity is seriously affecting agricultural production, especially in arid and semi-arid areas. Therefore, there is increasing interest in improving water productivity in agriculture. This research aims to study the effects of deficit irrigation on the productive response of sweet pepper plants. Nine deficit irrigation strategies were assayed during two seasons (2017 and 2018) in a randomised complete block design with three replicates. These irrigation strategies consisted of applying 100%, 75% and 50% of the irrigation water requirement (IWR) during the entire growing period (continued deficit irrigation) or applying 75% or 50% of the IWR during one of the following stages (regulated deficit irrigation): vegetative growth, fruit setting, and harvesting. Pepper plants cultivated under deficit irrigation reduced fruit biomass and indicators of plant water status. Applying water deficits during the vegetative growth and fruit-setting stages had minimal effects on the marketable yield but with minimal water savings. Irrigating pepper plants with 75% or 50% of the IWR during the entire crop cycle or with 50% of the IWR during harvesting resulted in a high incidence of fruits affected by blossom end rot, which in turn, led to a drastic reduction of the marketable yield in relation to fully irrigated plants (− 36%, − 55% and − 44%, respectively). These strategies also recorded the highest soluble solid and phenolic contents. Reducing the water applied to 75% of the IWR at harvesting led to a yield reduction (− 19%) but with important water savings (21%) and acceptable levels of soluble fruit solids and phenolic compounds.

Abbreviations

AWC

Available water content

BER

Blossom end rot

CI

Colour index

C*

Chroma

CDI

Continued deficit irrigation

ET

Evapotranspiration

ETa

Actual crop evapotranspiration

ETm

Maximum crop evapotranspiration

ETo

Reference evapotranspiration

ETc

Crop evapotranspiration

DM

Dry matter

Ef

Irrigation efficiency

Epan

Evaporation from a class A pan

FC

Field capacity

FW

Fresh weight

GS

Growing season

H°

Hue angle

HI

Harvest index

IS

Irrigation strategy

IWA

Irrigation water applied

IWR

Irrigation water requirement

IWUE

Irrigation water use efficiency

Kc

Crop coefficient

Kp

Pan coefficient

Ky

Yield response factor

MY

Marketable yield

MI

Maturity index

MSI

Membrane stability index

Pe

Effective precipitation

PWP

Permanent wilting point

RDI

Regulated deficit irrigation

RWC

Relative water content

SSC

Soluble solids content

VSWC

Volumetric soil water content

WUE

Water use efficiency

Ya

Actual marketable yield

Ym

Maximum marketable yield

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Abdelkhalik
    • 1
    • 2
  • B. Pascual
    • 3
    Email author
  • I. Nájera
    • 4
  • M. A. Domene
    • 5
  • C. Baixauli
    • 4
  • N. Pascual-Seva
    • 3
  1. 1.Departamento Producción VegetalUniversitat Politècnica de ValènciaValenciaSpain
  2. 2.Horticulture Department, Faculty of AgricultureFayoum UniversityFayoumEgypt
  3. 3.Centro Valenciano de Estudios sobre el RiegoUniversitat Politècnica de ValènciaValenciaSpain
  4. 4.Centro de Experiencias de Cajamar PaiportaPaiportaSpain
  5. 5.Estación Experimental de Cajamar Las PalmerillasEl EjidoSpain

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