In this edition of Farmer’s Inside Track, a resourceful expert from AECI Plant Health Herman Koekemoer, key account manager for East Africa, shares some important information on the effects of calcium in avocados, what causes deficiencies, and valuable solutions.
According to Koekemoer, calcium plays two vital roles in plant tissue. First, it improves membrane stability and increases the cell wall strength. Did you know that plant tissue high in calcium has more muscular cell walls which enable the plant to resist infection?
“A lack of calcium in plant tissue leads to browning caused by membrane instability allowing dihydroxy phenols to leak into other compartments where they undergo catalytic oxidation and polymerisation to form polyphenols which results in the typical browning appearance,” Koekemoer explains.
Preventing grey pulp
The episodes also explore why avocados are negatively affected by the discolouration of the mesocarp, better known as grey pulp. During export, avocados are shipped under refrigerated conditions, known as the cold chain, to ensure that firm fruit arrives at the European market.
“It may sometimes happen that shipping delays occur which result in the consignment being exposed for a longer than planned period to the cold chain. This can negatively impact the mesocarp cell structure, increasing the grey pulp incidents. Sufficient calcium in the fruit assists in resisting the effect of grey pulp and will assist with the general ripening quality of avocados,” he says.
In this episode, Koekmoer also discusses:
- What causes calcium deficiencies in avocados;
- What the solutions are; and
- What factors to look out for when choosing and spraying foliar fertilisers.
Want to know more? Listen to the full episode of Farmer’s Inside Track.
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