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Bell pepper production under saline stress and fertigation with different K+/Ca2+ ratios in a protected environment

posted on 2021-03-24, 11:24 authored by Ricardo Carlos Pereira da Silva, Francisco de Assis de Oliveira, Ademar Pereira de Oliveira, José Francismar de Medeiros, Rita de Cássia Alves, Francisco Italo Gomes Paiva

ABSTRACT. Bell peppers are sensitive to salinity; therefore, it is necessary to find alternatives to reduce saline stress. An experiment was conducted in a greenhouse at Federal Rural University of the Semi-Arid Region, in Mossoró, Rio Grande do Norte State, Brazil, to evaluate the effects of salinity and K+/Ca2+ ratios on bell pepper production. The experimental design consisted of randomized blocks in a 5 x 4 factorial scheme with four replicates, corresponding to five K+/Ca2+ ratios (F1 = 3.3/1, F2 = 2.8/1, F3 = 2.2/1, F4 = 1.8/1, and F5 = 1.5/1) and four salinity levels in the nutrient solution using NaCl (1.75, 3.25, 4.75, and 6.25 dS m-1). The following parameters were evaluated: the number of fruits (total, marketable and unmarketable), the mean weight of fruits (marketable and unmarketable), fruit production (total, marketable and percentage of marketable fruits) and a salinity tolerance index. Generally, nutrient solution enrichment with K+ or Ca2+ did not cause significant increments in bell pepper yield. The fertigation treatments F2, F3, and F5 led to a higher bell pepper tolerance to salinity, allowing waters with higher salt concentrations to be used without causing a reduction in the yield.