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Low-input pineapple crops with high quality fruit: Promising impacts of locally integrated and organic fertilisation compared to chemical fertilisers

Darnaudery M., Fournier P., Lechaudel M.. 2018. Experimental Agriculture, 54 (2) : p. 286-302.

DOI: 10.1017/S0014479716000284

Fruit and vegetable farming generally involves high levels of chemical inputs despite the fact that consumers are increasingly concerned about the sanitary and organoleptic aspects of fruit quality. Pineapple is largely subject to these issues since it is dominated by conventional monocropping with high levels of agrochemical inputs due to nitrogen (N) and potassium (K) fertilisation, weed management, crop protection and flowering induction. However, low-input pineapple cropping systems are both rare and little documented. Our study aimed at replacing all or part of the chemical fertilisers used with local organic fertilisers. It was conducted on the cultivar 'Queen Victoria', without pesticides or herbicides, in Reunion Island. We compared the impacts of three fertilisation treatments on pineapple growth and yield, fruit quality traits, symptoms of two major fungal diseases in fruit and production costs and labour times: (i) conventional: NPK fertiliser at recommended doses (265.5 kg ha-1 N¿10.53 kg ha-1 P¿445.71 kg ha-1 K); (ii) integrated: Mucuna pruriens green manure (240.03 kg ha-1 N, 18.62 kg ha-1 P, 136.11 kg ha-1 K) incorporated into the soil and a half-dose of NPK fertiliser and (iii) organic: M. pruriens green manure incorporated into the soil and foliar applications of sugarcane vinasse from a local distillery, rich in K (14.44 g L-1). Our results showed that NPK fertilisation could be replaced by organic fertilisers as well as by integrated fertilisation. 'D'-leaf analysis showed that vinasse supplies a largely sufficient K level for growing pineapples. With organic fertilisation, pineapple growth was slower, 199 days after planting vs. 149 days for integrated or conventional fertilisations, and fruit yield was lower, 47.25 t ha-1 vs. 52.51 and 61.24 t ha-1, probably because M. pruriens green manure provided an early increase in soil mineral N, whereas N requirements are much higher four months after planting. However, the fruit weight (709.94 ± 123.53 g) was still within the size range required for the export market (600¿900 g). Interestingly, organic fertilisation significantly reduced Leathery Pocket disease and produced the best quality fruit with the highest total soluble solids contents (TSS) and the lowest titratable acidity (TTA). Fruit quality was also significantly improved with integrated fertilisation, with fruit weight similar to that of conventional fertilisation. To conclude, these findings have implications for the sustainability of pineapple production and could lead to low-input innovative cropping systems that reduce production costs and develop local organic inputs.

Mots-clés : ananas comosus; mucuna pruriens; ananas (fruits); qualité; propriété organoleptique; fertilisation; engrais organique; engrais vert; vinasse; rendement des cultures; analyse de sol; propriété physicochimique du sol; maladie des plantes; agriculture biologique; pratique culturale; réunion; france

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