The demand for organic food products has increased over the last decades; however, the health effects of organically grown products are controversial and knowledge about how different fertilization regimes affect nutritionally and health relevant components is still limited. The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of organic and conventional mineral-based fertilizers on the quality of sweet red peppers. The parameters tested were anti-proliferative activity against cancer cells and the concentrations of antioxidants, flavonoids, phenolics, and vitamin C. The decay incidence, percentage of weight loss, and total soluble solids (TSS) content were also evaluated. The different parameters were tested in fresh peppers immediately after harvest and after cold storage. Our results show that the anti-proliferative activity of pepper extracts against colon cancer cells is similar in fresh organically and conventionally fertilized sweet red peppers. While in conventionally fertilized peppers the extent of the anti-proliferative activity was not affected by long storage, stored organic peppers lost 50% of their inhibitory activity. We also found that the levels of antioxidants, polyphenols, flavonoids, and vitamin C, as well as the general quality of the peppers were not significantly affected by the different fertilization practices nor by long storage.

In: Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

Citron (Citrus medica, L.) fruits (“etrog” in Hebrew; plural “etrogim”) are used ritually in the Jewish holiday of Sukkot (Tabernacles), and can command as much as US$100/fruit, depending on quality. The etrog is unique among citrus fruits in that only the external attributes are of commercial importance. Maintaining physical fruit quality mandates the use of protective cushioning on the tree, at harvest, and in packaging. Growers use a wide range of chemical treatments post-harvest to reduce to a minimum the possibility of disfiguring insect or disease infestations. Most etrog varieties are highly susceptible to chilling injury if stored at less than 12°C. Etrogim lose water readily during storage, so fruit are stored and almost always marketed in plastic bags that limit water loss. Skin color is regulated with applications of ethylene or gibberellin, depending on whether specific markets prefer fruit that are greener or more yellow.

In: Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

Grafting is a rapid, effective alternative to the relatively slow methodology of breeding, to provide crop plants with increased tolerance to environmental stress and better yield and quality of fruit vegetables. We evaluated the effect of grafting and soil disinfestation on pre- and postharvest parameters in two consecutive years. In both 2013 and 2014, soil disinfection significantly improved the viability of nongrafted plants compared to the same plants grown in nontreated soil. In both years, plants which were grafted on “Nurit” or “TZ” rootstocks showed significantly better vine vigor, with no evidence of disease in either disinfested or nontreated soil. The yield of marketable watermelon fruit was significantly higher in grafted versus nongrafted plants. Grafting significantly influenced watermelon rind color and flesh color, and strongly influenced taste and texture. Watermelon fruit harvested from plants grafted on “Nurit” were tastier and had better flesh texture than fruit harvested from “TZ”-grafted plants. Disinfection during those two years affected only seed formation. The year factor highly influenced rind color, total soluble solids (TSS) near the rind, TSS at the fruit's heart, taste, and texture. An interaction between grafting and year was found on flesh and TSS near the rind. No grafting × disinfection × year interaction was found.

In: Israel Journal of Plant Sciences