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INTRODUCTION

After the basic macronutrients such as Nitrogen, the Phosphorus and Potassium, the Calcium is a secondary macronutrient, which along with magnesium and sulphate are the largest component of the dry weight of the mineral nutrients incorporated into the crop. Calcium is an essential component of the cell wall, where it was serving a role as cementing calcium Pectate. It plays a very important role in activating and promoting the absorption of other mineral nutrients and organic metabolites, as well as in transporting carbohydrates and proteins. Calcium is involved in cell growth, for this reason it has a great importance in meristematic tissues.

A low level of Calcium in the artichoke crops has two negative consequences, a leaf decreases the photosynthetic activity of the plant consequently the leaves are reduced in size, distorted and chlorotic, on the other hand leaves become more sensitive to attack by fungi such as downy mildew, powdery mildew, botrytis, etc; respect to the productivity, the floral buds lose compaction and also become more sensitive to attack by fungi (of the genus Ascochyta blight and Botrytis) that affect to the bracts of the artichoke, consequently they reduce drastically their commercial value. The Calcium is absorbed as cation Ca++, its mobility in the plant is very reduced, it was irreversibly deposited on the leaf, so it can’t mobilized toward other areas, such as tissues in growth, flowers, fruits, etc..

Amino acids induce cations mobilization, for this reason they are often used together with the Calcium treatment; also phosphites present a high mobility within the plant and they are able to transmit this feature to the nutrient with which they are formulated.

José Morera, S. L. , presents a wide range of products based on phosphite ( the Glass line), one of them contains  Calcium (Glass Cal), and another one is formulated with Calcium and Boron (Glass Ca+B). We also produce some fertilizer containing synthetic amino acids (Sintex foliar and Sintex forte); the aminograms of these products is specifically designed to promote specific functions of plant metabolism.

Applied together, Sintex foliar and Glass Cal, or Sintex forte and Glass Ca+B, it is possible to achieve a great mobility of Calcium and consequently increase its accumulation in sites of active growth and in floral buds of the artichoke plant.

Sintex foliar and Glass Cal promote the assimilation of Calcium in leaves, while that Sintex forte and Glass Ca+B mobilize Calcium increasing its accumulation in floral buds and plants storage organs.

 

THE TEST

In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of these products to increase the Calcium content, both leaf level as in the fruit of the artichoke, we have planned a specific test on artichoke plantation, one year old, located in the province of Imbabura in Ecuador, variety “Imperial Star”, that produce globe artichoke with a great size, destined to the industry.

A specific analysis of the Calcium content was carried out in leaves and floral buds before the first application, the same analysis was repeated 20 days after the last application. Finally, during harvest approximately one month after the last application, some quality parameters were evaluated as for example the weight and the diameter of artichoke buds and incidence of buds with tightly compacted bracts.

 Table 1: Treatments tested 

Treatment

Product

Doses

Frequency 

T-0  Control   -
T-1 

Glass Cal

Sintex foliar 

0,25% (2,5 ml/L)

0,1% (1 ml/L) 

repeat 15 days

later 

T-2 

 Glass Ca+B

Sintex forte

0,25% (2,5ml/L)

0,1% (1ml/L) 

 repeat 15 days

later

 

RESULTS

After the second application, the Calcium content of leaf decreased in all thesis except for plants treated with Glass Cal and Sintex foliar where it increased from 0.85 % to 1.02 %.

Table 2: Calcium content in leaves

Treatment

Ca content

before treatment

Ca content 

after treatment

T-0

(untreated control)

0,85 0,71

T-1

(Glass Cal & Sintex foliar)

0,85 1,02

T-2

(Glass Ca+B & Sintex forte) 

0,85 0,62

 


Plants treated with Glass Ca+B showed the highest Calcium content of floral buds.

Table 3: Calcium content in floral buds.

Treatment

Ca content

before treatment

Ca content 

after treatment

T-0

(untreated control)

0,41 0,48

T-1

(Glass Cal & Sintex foliar)

0,41 0,55

T-2

(Glass Ca+B & Sintex forte) 

0,41 0,64

 

Concerning production quality and floral buds qualitative properties, best results were obtained with Glass Ca+B and Sintex forte. 

Table 4: Production quality

Treatment

no commercially

available buds 

buds with no

compacted bracts

 

T-0

(untreated control)

40% 20%

T-1

(Glass Cal & Sintex foliar)

42,8% 14,3%

T-2

(Glass Ca+B & Sintex forte) 

25% 12,5%

 

CONCLUSIONS

The thesis of Glass Cal and Sintex foliar showed the best Calcium level in leaf, increasing its content a 20% with respect to the same plants before the applications; and 43.7 % more than the untreated control.

Measuring the levels of Calcium in floral buds, the treatment with Glass Ca+B and Sintex forte showed the best results, showing an increase of 56% with respect to the time previous to the applications, and a 33.3 % more than the untreated control.

The quality of the production also improved with the application of Glass Ca+B and Sintex forte, the physiological disorder related to Calcium deficiency and detectable in floral buds (not compacted bracts, low weight and reduced diameter) were reduced a 37.5 % with respect to the untreated control.

It is important to highlight the role of Calcium in the resistance to diseases caused by fungi and bacteria, Calcium is considered an integral component in the protein–pectin “cement” of the middle lamella. When Ca concentration is low, there is an associated decomposition of the middle lamella. This decrease in cell wall integrity may well be an important factor in tissue susceptibility to fungal attack. For this reason a good levels of this element can prevent or mitigate the disease effects.


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