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Optimizing levels of water and nitrogen applied through drip irrigation for yield, quality, and water productivity of processing tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.)

Optimizing levels of water and nitrogen applied through drip irrigation for yield, quality, and water productivity of processing tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.)
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  Optimizing Levels of Water and Nitrogen Applied through Drip Irrigation for Yield, Quality, and Water Productivity of Processing Tomato (  Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) Hayrettin Kuscu 1 * , Ahmet Turhan 1 , Nese Ozmen 2 , Pinar Aydinol 2 , and Ali Osman Demir 3 1  Department of Plant Production, Vocational School of Mustafakemalpasa, University of Uluda  ğ   , Bursa Street 16500, Bursa, Turkey 2  Department of Food Processing, Vocational School of Mustafakemalpasa, University of Uluda  ğ   ,  Bursa Street 16500, Bursa, Turkey 3  Department of Biosystems Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Uluda  ğ   , Gorukle, 16059, Bursa, Turkey *Corresponding author:  Received December 16, 2013 / Revised March 8, 2014 / Accepted March 9, 2014 Ⓒ Korean Society for Horticultural Science and Springer 2014 Abstract. The main goal of this study was to evaluate the effects of different levels of irrigation water and nitrogen on yield, quality, and water productivity of processing tomato grown in clay-loam soil. Three water levels of pan evaporation (E  pan ) replenishment applied via drip irrigation (1.00 × E  pan , 0.75 × E  pan , and 0.50 × E  pan ) and four N application rates with fertigation (0, 60, 120, and 180 kg N·ha -1 ) were tested in the sub-humid climate conditions of Turkey during the 2010 and 2011 growing seasons. The highest marketable yields were observed with full irrigation (1.00 × E  pan ) for each season. Decreasing irrigation rate generally improved dry matter, total soluble solids, total sugars, titratable acidity, lycopene and total carotene, and decreased fruit NO 3 -N content and fruit total protein content slightly. The highest water productivity was obtained with a moderate soil water deficit (0.75 × E  pan ). The 180 kg N·ha -1  fertilization rate produced the highest values for marketable yield, fruit size, total soluble solids yield, NO 3 -N, and total protein content. Increasing N rate also increased the values of fruit total sugars and titratable acidity. Increasing both irrigation and N levels increased the NO 3 -N and protein contents. The higher lycopene and total carotene values were obtained in the treatments of 60 and 120 kg N·ha -1 . Increasing N supply improved the water  productivity with the 3 irrigation application ratios. Considering the quantity and quality for the processing and water  productivity, the 0.75 × E  pan  irrigation regime and a 120 or 180 kg·ha -1  nitrogen supply can considered optimal.  Additional key words :  carotenoids, limited irrigation, N fertilization, total soluble solids, water-use efficiency Hort. Environ. Biotechnol. 55(2):103-114. 2014.DOI 10.1007/s13580-014-0180-9 ISSN (print) : 2211-3452ISSN (online) : 2211-3460 Research Report Introduction Tomato ranks first among the most important vegetable crops of Turkey. The total area used for its cultivation in the country is 189,202 ha, and the total tomato production is approximately 11.35 million tons per year (TUIK, 2013). It is widely consumed as fresh and processed products, such as tomato paste, juice, and ketchup. The production of com-mercial tomato is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors, such as soil, climate, water quality, and crop manage-ment. Among the environmental factors, soil water and inorganic nutrition are the most limiting factors in the pro-duction and quality of tomatoes. Irrigation scheduling is a crucial factor in tomato cultivation when soil moisture is limited.Many irrigation experiments have revealed that tomato is sensitive to moisture stress (Locascio and Smasjstrla, 1996; Patanè and Cosentino, 2010).Tomato has a fairly deep root system (up to 1.5 m), and approximately 80% of the total water and nutrient uptake occurs in the first 0.5 to 0.7 m (Doorenbos and Kassam, 1979). Water and nutrient stress cause reduction of marketable yields by reducing crop biomass  production. For high yields, the seasonal water requirements of tomato vary from 400 to 800 mm with a daily evapotran-spiration rate of 4 to 6 mm·d -1 , depending on the climate and the total length of the growing period (Hanson and May, 2006; Harmanto et al., 2005; Mukherjee et al., 2010). The maximum seasonal evapotranspiration of tomato crop was  Hayrettin Kuscu, Ahmet Turhan, Nese Ozmen, Pinar Aydinol, and Ali Osman Demir  104 Table 1. Some soil properties of the experimental field. Property201020110-30 cm soil depthTotal N (%)0.200.15 Available P (P 2 O 5  - kg・ha -1 )8185Exchangeable K (K 2 O - kg・ha -1 )13951280Organic matter (%)1.92.0pH (saturation)7.87.7EC (1:2.5 - dS・m -1 )0.480.45Infiltration rate (mm・h -1 )7.47.20-90 cm soil depthBulk density (g・cm -3 )1.411.41Field capacity (%)38.338.3Permanent wilting point (%)23.223.2 measured to be 864 mm in an open field experiment in the Mediterranean climate of Turkey (Erdal et al., 2006). Tomato is a heavy feeder of nutrients, and it responds well to the application of fertilizer (Hebbar et al., 2004); hence, fertigation is recommended for higher nutrient availability and use effi-ciency. The amount of fertilizer required, for a satisfactory yield and quality of tomatoes, is 100 to 150 kg·ha -1  of N, 65 to 110 kg·ha -1  of P, and 160 to 240 kg·ha -1  of K (Doorenbos and Kassam, 1979). The nutrient requirements of drip-irrigated tomato are relatively high (Hartz and Hochmuth, 1996; Pan et al., 1999).Drip irrigation is widely used for irrigating vegetable crops in both developed and developing regions of the world. Over the past decade, use of drip irrigation has increased substantially in the Turkish tomato industry because the Turkish government has provided financial support to farmers in an effort to increase the water use efficiency. Subsequently, the use of combined irrigation and fertilization has gradually increased with the increasing use of drip irrigation in the country. Drip irrigation can help improve not only the water use efficiency, but also nutrient use efficiency. Drip irrigation in various agro-ecological conditions recorded one-third higher fruit yield per unit of water used in addition to 30 to 40% water saving, 15% increase in dry matter production, and 39% increase in leaf area index, thus increasing fertilizer use efficiency and improving the quality of tomato fruit in com- parison to the furrow irrigation method (Hanson and May, 2006; Hebbar et al., 2004; Malash et al., 2008; Yohannes and Tadesse, 1998). In the conditions of Turkey, drip irrigated tomato registered 87.5 t·ha -1  of marketable yield with a net return of $6,960/ha (Ku ş çu et al., 2009).It is obvious that a more efficient use of scarce water and costly fertilizer inputs is critical in achieving improved tomato yield and quality. To obtain high yields and maximum profits in commercial tomato production, optimal management of  both fertilizer and water are required (Scholberg et al., 2000). Irrigation water scheduling enables an efficient use of water, fertilizer, and energy inputs. The goal of a fertilization  program is to reduce the difference between crop demand and supply. Nitrogen is the most limiting nutrient for plant growth and potential biomass production during the entire growing season. However, excessive nitrogen application may cause NO 3 -N accumulation below the active root zone and create a risk of NO 3 -N leaching (Wang et al., 2012; Yang et al., 2006). However, current knowledge on the response of field-grown processing tomato yield and quality to drip irri-gation and nitrogen fertilization is very limited, especially regarding the effect of limited water allocations in sub-humid zones. Therefore, the present investigation was conducted to study the yield, quality, and water productivity response of  processing tomato grown by drip irrigation in a sub-humid climatic region. Materials and Methods Field Experiment Field studies were conducted on a clay loam soil (23.6% sand, 43.6% silt, and 32.8% clay) at the Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Uluda ğ , Turkey (40°02 ′  N, 28°23 ′  E; altitude 22 m above sea level) during the growing seasons of 2010 and 2011. The local climate is temperate, summers are hot and dry, and winters are mild and rainy. According to long-term meteorological data (1975-2010), the annual mean rainfall, temperature, and relative humidity are 681 mm, 14°C, and 68%, respectively. The climate of the study area is clas-sified as sub-humid according to the Thornthwaite climate classification system (Feddema, 2005). The total rainfall during the growing season (from mid-May to the last week in August) was 120.8 mm in 2010 and 52.2 mm in 2011. Soil properties of experimental area are summarized in Table 1. Total N was estimated using the Kjeldahl method, available P using the Olsen method, exchangeable K using the ammonium acetate method, and total organic matter using the Walckey-Black method (Page et al., 1982). Treatments and gricultural pplications Treatments were arranged in field according to a split plot experimental design with three replications in both seasons. The irrigation treatments were randomized in the main plots and N levels in the sub-plots. The treatments consisted of three irrigation levels of pan evaporation (E  pan ) replenishment [1.00 × E  pan  (I 100 ), 0.75 × E  pan  (I 75 ), and 0.50 × E  pan  (I 50 )] and four N application levels [0 (N 0 ), 60 (N 60 ), 120 (N 120 ), and 180 (N 180 ) kg ・ ha -1 ]. The United States Weather Bureau (USWB) Class A evaporation pan was used to determine the amount of irrigation water applied. Irrigation management was based on the common practice in the area for tomato, which consists  Hort. Environ. Biotechnol. 55(2):103-114. 2014. 105 of irrigation at a 3-day interval. Seeds of a hybrid cultivar ‘Heinz-8004’ (H. J. Heinz Co., Pittsburgh, PA, USA) were supplied by the TAT Seed Company, Inc. (Mustafakemalpasa, Bursa, Turkey). Initially, seeds were germinated in organically- enriched peat in open plastic trays with a vermiculite cover to facilitate aeration. Thirty-five days after germination, seed-lings at the 3-4 true leaf stage were transplanted to the treatment  plots during the third week of May. Each experimental plot was 5.1 m long by 5.6 m wide (28.56 m 2 ), with 4 rows per  plot. A buffer zone spacing of 2.0 m was provided between the plots. The row spacing and plant-plant spacing were 1.4 and 0.3 m, respectively. The seedlings were transplanted at a population density of 24,285 plants per ha in both seasons.The plots were fertilized with 70 kg·ha -1  P 2 O 5  as triple super phosphate (43-44% P 2 O 5 ) in both years before planting. Because the soil test results indicated that there was a suf-ficient level of potassium in the soil (Table 1), no additional K fertilizer was applied on the experimental site. Nitrogen from ammonium sulfate (21% N and 24% S) was applied in nine equal rates for each treatment at a 9-day interval using a fertilizer tank connected to the drip irrigation system. The laterals were installed in each row (1.4 m apart) at a distance of 0.15 m from the stem. The thick-walled dripper lines (Dripnet PC-16390 TM , Netafim Irrigation Inc., Tel Aviv, Israel) had inline compensating emitter pressure, and the discharge rate of the emitters was 3.0 L·h -1  at an operating pressure of 100 kPa. The emitter spacing was chosen as 0.40 m based on the soil characteristics. Irrigation water was pumped directly from the Mustafakemalpasa Aquifer to the drip irrigation system. The electrical conductivity of the water in the aquifer was 1.3 dS·m -1 . The amount of first irrigation water for all of the plots was based on the moisture deficit that would be needed to bring the 0-90 cm layer of soil to field capacity (Çetin et al., 2002).Standard cultural practices were adopted during the crop-growing season. Hoeing was performed twice during the growing season. The insecticides [Emamectin benzoate (Proclaim) and abamectin + chlorantraniliprole (Voliam Targo)] and fungicides [chlorothalonil (Bravo), azoxystrobin (Quadris), and mancozeb + mefenoxam (Ridomil)] were applied according to commercial recommendations.  e surements The soil water content was measured gravimetrically on an oven dry basis in a 0.3 m-depth increment to 1.2 m through-out the growing season. Actual crop water consumption (ET c ) was calculated using the soil water balance equation given  below (Garrity et al., 1982).ET c  =  I   +  P   ± Δ S  –  D, (1)where  I   is the irrigation water (mm),  P   is the precipitation (mm), Δ S   is the change in the soil water content (mm), and  D  is the drainage below the root zone.In the equation,  I   was measured using a water meter (VK-4P, volumetric type, Baylan Inc., Izmir, Turkey),  P   was observed at the meteorological station nearby the experimental area, and Δ S   was obtained from gravimetric moisture ob-servations in the soil profile to a depth of 0.9 m. Whenever available water in the effective root zone (0-0.9 m) was above the field capacity, it was assumed to be the drainage  below the root zone.Ripe and disease-free fresh fruits from 34 plants in the two center rows from each plot were hand-harvested during the last week of August in both seasons, and marketable yields were calculated as ton of fresh weight (FW) per hectare.Some qualitative characteristics of the fruits were investigated from 30 samples of red fruit collected at random from each  plot. The collected samples were transported to the laboratory, and initially fresh weight of each fruit was measured. The fruits were washed once with tap water and twice with distilled water, sliced, and seeds were removed. Then they were analyzed for dry matter, total soluble solids, total sugar, titratable acidity, lycopene, total carotene, and NO 3 -N. Dry matter content (DM, % FW) was determined in homogenate samples dried in a forced-air oven at 80°C for 48 h according to the methods described by Tzortzakis and Economakis (2008). Total soluble solids (TSS, ºBrix) content was determined at 20°C using a hand refractometer (Abbe-type refractometer, model 60/DR, Bellingham and Stanley Ltd., Kent, UK) according to the methods described by Tigchelaar (1986). To analyze the total sugar content (TS, % FW), the Luff-Schoorl method was used (Gormley and Maher, 1990). A 10 mL sample was used for determination of acidity by titrating with 0.1 M  NaOH. Titratable acidity (TA, g·100 g -1  FW) was calculated as the percentage of citric acid in the juice as described by Znidarcic and Pozrl (2006). The lycopene and total carotene contents (mg·100 g -1  FW) were determined by extraction using  petroleum ether-acetone and spectrophotometric measurement using a spectrophotometer (UV-1208, Shimadzu, Kyoto, Japan) at 452 and 472 nm for lycopene and total carotene, respect-ively (Adsule and Dan, 1979; Tepic et al., 2006). The NO 3 -N content (mg·kg -1  FW) was measured using the spectrophoto-metric method at a wavelength of 410 nm (Fresenius et al., 1988). Fruit nitrogen was determined using the Kjeldahl method as described by AOAC (1980), and the percentage nitrogen was converted to crude protein (% FW) by multiplying the percentage by 6.25 (AOAC, 1980). The TSS yield (t·ha -1  FW) was also estimated by multiplying the TSS content with the marketable yield following Patanè et al. (2011).  Hayrettin Kuscu, Ahmet Turhan, Nese Ozmen, Pinar Aydinol, and Ali Osman Demir  106 Table 2. Irrigation water applied (IWA) and seasonal evapotran-spiration (ET c ) in two years of experiment. TreatmentIWA (mm) ETc (mm)2010 2011 2010 2011I 50 N 0z 248 321 375 386I 50 N 60  248 321 396 404I 50 N 120  248 321 410 421I 50 N 180  248 321 412 426I 75 N 0  371 407 427 433I 75 N 60  371 407 436 440I 75 N 120  371 407 453 456I 75 N 180  371 407 465 477I 100 N 0  455 512 502 518I 100 N 60  455 512 533 528I 100 N 120  455 512 575 550I 100 N 180  455 512 596 571 z I, Irrigation; and N, Nitrogen. The treatments consisted of three irrigation levels of pan evaporation (E pan ) replenishment [1.00 ×E pan  (I 100 ), 0.75 × E pan  (I 75 ) and 0.50 × E pan  (I 50 )] and four N application levels [0 (N 0 ), 60 (N 60 ), 120 (N 120 ), and 180 kg ・ ha -1  (N 180 )]. Fig. 1. Seasonal variation of average soil water content in 0-0.9 m depth for irrigation treatments across different nitrogen levels. I 100 , I 75 , and I 50  are irrigation levels of pan evaporation (E pan ) replenishment, [1.00 × E pan  (I 100 ), 0.75 × E pan  (I 75 ), and 0.50 ×E pan  (I 50 ), respectively. Irrigation Water Use Efficiency and Water Use Efficiency Irrigation water-use efficiency (IWUE, kg·m -3 ) was calculated as the marketable fruit yield (kg·ha -1 ) obtained per unit volume of seasonal irrigation water applied (m 3 ·ha -1 ). Water-use effi-ciency (WUE, kg·m -3 ) was calculated as marketable fruit yield (kg·ha -1 ) obtained per unit volume of seasonal evapotranspiration (m 3 ·ha -1 ) (Wang et al., 2007; Zotarelli et al., 2009). Yield Response Factor The yield response factor for total growing period was determined by following approach described by Doorenbos and Kassam (1979). (2)where Y  a  and Y  m  are actual and maximum crop yields, cor-responding to  ET  a  and  ET  m , at actual and maximum evapo-transpiration, respectively, and k   y  is crop yield response factor. Data nalysis The data were subjected to analyses of variance using statistical programs (IBM ®  SPSS ®  Statistics for Windows, Version 20.0, Copyright, 2011, IBM Corp., Armonk, NY). Duncan’s multiple range test was used to group the means of irrigation, nitrogen, and their interactions when the F-test was significant. A regression analysis was performed on the relationships between the fruit parameters and the irrigation and N rates. Results  nalysis of Variance Results of variance analysis (ANOVA) of data averaged over individual years are given in Table 3. The results show that the effect of both irrigation and nitrogen rates on most of the parameters was significant (  p   ≤  0.05). Additionally, the effect of the interactions between irrigation and nitrogen on all parameters observed, except total protein, was sig-nificant at the 0.05 level (Table 4). Seasonal Irrigation Water pplied and Evapotranspiration The seasonal irrigation water applied (IWA) and evapo-transpiration (ET c ) values for the different treatments are shown in Table 2. The amount of IWA varied from 248 to 455 mm in 2010 and from 321 to 512 mm in 2011. The total water applied in the irrigation treatments was affected by the rate of rainfall during the experiment. In 2010, less water was distributed by irrigation, since more rainfall occurred, as the total rainfall during the growing season was 121 mm in 2010 and 52 mm in 2011.Seasonal variation of average soil water content in 0-0.9 m depth for irrigation treatments across different nitrogen levels is presented Fig. 1. Soil water content fluctuated greatly in response to the irrigation level. This increased with irrigation  Hort. Environ. Biotechnol. 55(2):103-114. 2014. 107 Table 3. Results of analysis of variance of marketable fruit yield, fruit size, dry matter (DM), total soluble solids (TSS), total sugar (TS), titratable acidity (TA), lycopene, total carotene, NO 3 -N, total N, and total protein for the irrigation and nitrogen treatments. Irrigation and nitrogen level Marketable fruit yield(t FW ・ ha  –1 )Fruit size(g FW)DM(%)TSS(ºBrix)TSSyield(t ・ ha  –1 )TS(% FW)TA(g ・ 100g -1  FW)Lycopene(mg ・ 100 g -1  FW )Total carotene(mg ・ 100 g -1 )NO 3 -N(mg ・ kg  –1  FW)Totalprotein(% FW)Year (Y)***********nsnsnsns*Irrigation level (I)**********************Nitrogen level (N)**********************I × N*******************nsY × I × N************ns****nsns *,**,ns F-test significant at p   ≤ 0.05, p   ≤ 0.01, respectively, and not significant. Fig. 2. Fertigated marketable fruit yield response to N level with pooled data from the two years and averaged of three replications and three irrigation treatments. applications and decreased with evapotranspiration afterward, and showed fluctuations with rainfall during the vegetative growth period in 2010. Soil water content declined quickly from the vegetative stage to the fruit setting stage in this area of high evaporation and high crop water requirement.The seasonal values of ET c  per treatment ranged from 375 to 596 mm in 2010 and from 386 to 571 mm in 2011. As expected, the highest seasonal ET c  was obtained in the I 100  treatment as a result of favorable soil moisture, whereas the lowest ET c  was recorded in the I 50  treatment with a water deficit during the growing period. Seasonal ET c  also increased with increasing N level for all irrigation treatments (Table 2).  ffect of Irrigation and Nitrogen Levels on Fruit Yield and Quality Irrigation and nitrogen levels significantly affected marketable yield and fruit size in the individual experimental years. In general, there was a close relationship between irrigation and marketable yield or fruit size. Marketable yield and fruit size increased with the amount of irrigation water applied in  both years (Table 4). The response of marketable fruit yield to the N level could be described with a second-degree  polynomial curve, fitted to the pooled data of the two years and the three averaged irrigation treatments (Fig. 2). The irrigation × nitrogen interaction was significant in both years  because with the rise of both water and nitrogen levels the marketable yield increased. Thus, the highest yield was obtained in the I 100  × N 180  due to favorable soil moisture and adequate N nutrition during the growing period (Table 4). The second highest marketable yield was obtained in the I 75  × N 180  for both years; however, in 2010, there was no significant difference in the yield between the I 75  × N 180  and I 100  × N 120 . The heaviest fruits were also obtained in the I 100  × N 180  (Table 4). The results for two years can be summarized  by stating that a producer would have obtained the highest marketable yield using full irrigation and a 180 kg N·ha -1  seasonal application. The differences in DM and TSS were particularly notable with variation in irrigation level. As expected, DM and TSS contents were higher in water-stressed plants. Conversely, differential DM and TSS responses of the plant to the nitrogen fertilization were observed. The irrigation × nitrogen interaction for DM was not significant in 2010. However, in 2011 the two factors significantly interacted and the greatest DM was recorded in the I 50  × N 120  combination. There were significant irrigation × nitrogen interactions for TSS in both years, with a trend similar to that of DM. The TSS content of the I 50  ×  N 120  combination was statistically greater than the other treatments in both years. Based on the irrigation × nitrogen combinations, the second highest DM and TSS values were obtained in the I 75  × N 120  for both years (Table 4).Within irrigation treatments, TSS yield values differed significantly in both seasons. The highest TSS yield was obtained in the I 100  × N 180  combination in both years, whereas the lowest TSS yield was obtained in the I 50  × N 0  and I 75  × N 0  combinations, but with no significant difference. The TSS yield significantly increased with increasing levels of nitrogen fertilization in both years (Table 4).The differences in the fruit TS contents among irrigation
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