The eggplant yield and fruit composition as affected by genetic factor and biostimulant application
Consumer demands regarding eggplant fruits are focused on perfect shape, color, and taste but nutritional and bioactive quality has also become important with rising awareness of food related health. On the other hand, producers value modern cultivars’ earliness, high-yielding, stress-tolerance, and high overall fruit quality. We attempt to link these two standpoints through combining modern hybrids cultivated in the open field of temperate climatic zone with biostimulant application to increase the dynamics of yielding and the quality of fruits. The aim of our research was the determination of the genotypic-dependent response of eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) to Ascophyllum nodosum standardized extract (Göemar BM-86) application in field conditions of Poland, with respect to the most important characteristics linked to yield quality and plant stress status. The early and total yield of investigated hybrids was affected by biostimulant application, and this dependence was confirmed statistically for most of the treatments. The increase of ‘Epic’ F1 and ‘Flavine’ F1 yield potential through Göemar BM-86 application was linked to higher fruit number harvested from the plants, while ‘WA 6020’ F1 led to greater fruit weight. Investigated hybrids responded differently to biostimulant treatment with respect to dietary and pro-health value of fruits. Generally, the content of soluble sugar, anthocyanins, and mineral elements as well as was antioxidant activity of fruits were positively affected by biostimulant application. This tendency was statistically confirmed for several experimental treatments. Presented results give a new perspective on seaweed-based biostimulants as elicitors of crop’s self defense mechanisms as well as modulators of fruit setting, productivity and bioactive compounds accumulation in eggplant.
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