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Cultivar and year rather than agricultural practices affect primary and secondary metabolites in apple fruit

Abstract : Many biotic and abiotic parameters affect the metabolites involved in the organoleptic and health value of fruits. It is therefore important to understand how the growers' decisions for cultivar and orchard management can affect the fruit composition. Practices, cultivars and/or year all might participate to determine fruit composition. To hierarchize these factors, fruit weight, dry matter, soluble solids contents, titratable acidity, individual sugars and organics acids, and phenolics were measured in three apple cultivars ('Ariane', 'Melrose' and 'Smoothee') managed under organic, low-input and conventional management. Apples were harvested at commercial maturity in the orchards of the cropping system experiment BioREco at INRA Gotheron (Drôme, 26) over the course of three years (2011, 2012 and 2013). The main factors affecting primary and secondary metabolites, in both apple skin and flesh, were by far the cultivar and the yearly conditions, while the management system had a very limited effect. When considering the three cultivars and the year 2011 to investigate the effect of the management system per se, only few compounds differed significantly between the three systems and in particular the total phenolic content did not differ significantly between systems. Finally, when considering orchards grown in the same pedoclimatic conditions and of the same age, instead of the usual organic vs. conventional comparison, the effect of the management system on the apple fruit quality (Fruit weight, dry matter, soluble solids content, titratable acidity, individual sugars, organic acids, and phenolics) was very limited to non-significant. The main factors of variation were the cultivar and the year of cropping rather than the cropping system. More generally, as each management system (e.g. conventional, organic…) encompasses a great variability of practices, this highlights the importance of accurately documenting orchard practices and design beside the generic type of management in such studies.
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Carine Le Bourvellec, Sylvie Bureau, Catherine M.G.C. Renard, Daniel Plénet, Hélène Gautier, et al.. Cultivar and year rather than agricultural practices affect primary and secondary metabolites in apple fruit. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2015, 10 (11), 23 p. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0141916⟩. ⟨hal-02631440⟩

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