Medium-long term effects of saline reclaimed water and regulated deficit irrigation on fruit quality of citrus

J Sci Food Agric. 2020 Feb;100(3):1350-1357. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.10091. Epub 2019 Nov 21.


Background: Non-conventional water sources and water-saving techniques can be valuable in semi-arid regions, although their long-term effects on citrus quality are little known. This study evaluated the effects of irrigation with two sources, transfer water (TW) and reclaimed water (RW), combined with two irrigation strategies, full irrigation (FI) and regulated deficit irrigation (RDI), on fruit quality of mandarins and grapefruits during eight growth seasons.

Results: Reclaimed water irrigation in mandarin, without water restriction, influenced maturity index (MI) less than TW-FI, because titratable acidity (TA) increased to a greater degree than soluble solid contents (SSC). Nevertheless, juice quality standards were satisfied. Regardless of the irrigation treatment (FI or RDI), a trend towards increasing fruit weight was also detected with RW. In grapefruit, its rootstock (Citrus macrophylla) enhanced salinity resilience with respect to the rootstock of mandarin ('Carrizo' citrange) and, hence, MI was not affected by RW. The RDI strategy, without saline stress (TW-RDI), increased, to a similar degree, both SSC and TA in mandarin fruit, not affecting the MI. In grapefruit, the water stress of RDI did improve the MI due to the TA did not change and SSC increased significantly, the TA did not change. The combination of both strategies, RW-RDI, decreased the MI only in some years because TA increased proportionally more than SSC in mandarin.

Conclusions: The medium- and long-term feasibility of using RW and RDI to irrigate citrus was demonstrated. However, they must be performed cautiously and with appropriate management to avoid damaging fruit quality as a result of phytotoxic elements. © 2019 Society of Chemical Industry.

Keywords: fruit weight; grapefruit; mandarin; maturity index; organic acid; soluble solid content.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Agricultural Irrigation / methods*
  • Citrus / chemistry
  • Citrus / growth & development*
  • Citrus / metabolism
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Fruit / growth & development
  • Fruit / metabolism
  • Saline Waters / analysis
  • Saline Waters / metabolism
  • Water / analysis
  • Water / metabolism*


  • Water