The Effect of Foliar Boron Spraying on the Fruit Features of Brigitta and Legacy Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) Cultivars

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Boron (B) is associated with reproductive and antioxidant metabolism in plants, and in southern Chile, the deficiency of this micronutrient is ameliorated through foliar applications that are a part of agricultural management, thus ensuring the productivity of crops including highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.). However, the appropriate B dosage for this species is unknown, so the aim of this study was to evaluate foliar B application on fruit quality in highbush blueberry in southern Chile. During the 2014-2015 season, Brigitta and Legacy cultivars were sprayed with B at rates of 0 (control), 200, 400 and 800 mg L-1 three times (10% bloom, full bloom, and fruit set), and fruit set (%), firmness (g mm-2), soluble solids (°Brix), weight (g) and size (mm) of the fruits were determined. In addition, antioxidant activity was measured by ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) and DPPH (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl). The results showed that a low rate of B (200 mg L-1) increased the fruit set and soluble solids in Brigitta, whereas Legacy required higher B concentrations (400 and 800 mg L-1). In both cultivars, firmness, fresh fruit weight, dry matter (%) and antioxidant activity increased under the 200 and 400 mg B L-1 treatments, whereas this last parameter was reduced under a high B concentration. A low B rate showed to be more effective at improving fruit quality in Brigitta, while Legacy required higher B application rates. Future research should be performed over several seasons and different cultivars to confirm these results.

Cristian Meriño-Gergichevich
Eduardo Pacheco
Marjorie ReyesDíaz
Ciencia e Investigación Agraria