GARIBALDI Lucas Alejandro
Insect Pollination, More than Plant Nutrition, Determines Yield Quantity and Quality in Apple and Pear
HÜNICKEN, PABLO; MORALES, CAROLINA L.; GARCÍA, NANCY; GARIBALDI, LUCAS A.
ENTOMOLOGICAL SOC BRASIL
Lugar: BRASIL; Año: 2020 p. 525 - 532
Agricultural yield is the result of multiple factors and ecological processes (e.g., pollination, fertilization, pest control). Understanding how the different factors interact is fundamental to designing management practices aimed to increase these yields, which are environmental friendly and sustainable over time. In this study, we focus on insect pollination and plant nutrition status, since they are two key factors that influence crop yield. The study was carried out in Northwest Patagonia Argentina, which is an area of intensive production of pears and apples of global importance, during the harvest seasons 2018 and 2019. The plant nutrition was estimated from leaf chlorophyll content. Biotic pollination benefits were evaluated by comparing fruit quantity (fruit to flower ratio) and quality (weight, size, and sugar concentration) from approximately 25 flowers exposed to pollinators and 25 flowers excluded to them per tree (a total of 160 apple trees and 130 pear trees). In addition, we estimated the visitation rate of pollinators to flowers and related it to fruit quality in apple. Despite different floral characteristics, we found in both crops a positive effect of insect pollination in both the quantity and the quality of the fruits. Interestingly, the nutrition of the trees, although variable, did not affect either the quantity or the quality of the fruits. Despite the weak effect of nutrition, we found no interaction between pollination and plant nutrition (i.e., additive effects). These results highlight the importance of agricultural practices that promote pollinators on farms.