Influence of sustained deficit irrigation and foliar kaolin application on almond kernel composition uri icon


  • Deficit irrigation and kaolin foliar application are agronomic practices that have been demonstrated to improve productivity and physiological response in almond trees but there is no consistent information on the effects on the kernel composition. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of different Sustainable Deficit Irrigation (SDI) strategies and kaolin application on some physicochemical composition of the cv Ferragn`es almond (Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb). A randomized block design with five treatments was developed: nonirrigation (NI), non-irrigation with foliar kaolin application (NI+K), full irrigation (FI), and two levels of SDI receiving 70% and 35% of evapotranspiration (SDI75 and SDI35). Pomological parameters, volatile profile and oil composition were analyzed. SDI effect on kernel weight was reduced against full irrigation (FI) but substantially improved in comparison with the rainfed treatments (NI and NI+K). Irrigation treatments showed a lower volatile compounds concentration in comparison with rainfed treatment. The fatty acid composition of the oil was significantly affected, with all the irrigated treatments having higher oleic acid contents than the rainfed treatments, and therefore an expected increased shelf life. Kaolin application had no positive effects on the nonirrigated trees, other than an apparent increase in the total volatiles, a tendency also observed in the NI. Moderate water stress levels (SDI35) improved the synthesis of tocopherols compared to NI, FI and SDI70, which could be related to the adaptation of the almond tree to drought. SDI35 is therefore regarded as a very interesting approach, with significant improvements in comparison with non-irrigated trees, and a clear saving on water against full irrigation without significant pomological and chemical alterations.
  • The authors acknowledge the financial support of Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT, Portugal) for financial support through national funds FCT/MCTES (PIDDAC) to CIMO (UIDB/00690/2020 and UIDP/00690/2020), SusTEC (LA/P/0007/2021) and LAQV (UIDB/ 50006/2020 and UIDP/50006/2020). David Barreales thanks FCT for the Ph.D. grant SFRH/BD/139393/2018. This manuscript is part of David Barreales’s Ph.D. thesis. The authors thank to the Cooperativa Agrícola de Alfandega da F´e, Crl. for allowing this research activity in its almond orchards.

publication date

  • November 1, 2023