In order to determine the final quality of the citrus harvest, optimal management in the last stages of the crop cycle, starting with the colour change, is essential. Therefore, a strategy focused on improving the preservation and protection of the peel can have a direct effect on the final value and profitability of the crop for the farmer.
However, the ideal scenario includes not only the interests of the farmer, but also those of the marketing companies. These aim to provide supermarket chains with products that meet consumer expectations and needs based on consumer trends. And it is precisely these trends that are a fundamental aspect influencing the entire supply chain, as they push all actors to continuously adapt. Innova Market Insights, in its presentation of the main trends in the food industry for the year 2022, states: “personal health and sustainability have proven to be strong drivers of consumer choice”; “personal and societal values are increasingly important as they become intertwined with purchasing decisions”.
Returning to citriculture, there is a clear need to be able to produce fruit on the basis of sustainable and healthy standards that also have an adequate shelf life to guarantee their commercialisation in the different markets of interest. The challenge is to do this on the basis of agronomic practices that result in zero-waste harvests and that influence the many aspects surrounding cultivation (pre-harvest), subsequent processing and conservation (post-harvest). And all of this is compounded by the restriction and/or prohibition of the use of some tools such as phytosanitary products which, until recently, allowed this task to be completed successfully.
In order to meet this challenge, Servalesa proposes to introduce the use of biostimulants as SERGOMIL® ECO AND PEELS® complements to conventional tools in zero-waste management strategies, thus enhancing the stimulation-protection binomial. The concept of the aforementioned plant protection products revolves around plant health. Biostimulants are based on the improvement and regulation of physiological and biological processes of crops and biochemistry to optimise and improve crop yield and quality.
In the specific case of citriculture, and thanks to the study carried out by Servalesa, there is evidence that the combined use of the biostimulants SERGOMIL®ECO and PEELS® improves the quality of the peel of the fruit, reinforcing its firmness, preventing its weakening and mitigating senescence. In this way, the fruits are prepared for post-harvest life.
SERGOMIL®ECO is a biostimulant based on a liquid formulation composed of sucrose derivatives and complexed copper.
Servalesa, thanks to a study carried out at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), has confirmed the action method of SERGOMIL®ECO. It is based on the ability to increase copper levels inside the plant (by promoting the synthesis of key enzymes), optimise the photosynthesis process and reduce various physiopathologies linked to copper deficiency. However, one of the most important characteristics of SERGOMIL®ECO’s action method is its ability to activate the metabolic pathways associated with lignin synthesis, reinforcing the cell wall of plant structures and thus improving fruit firmness. Finally, the conformation study tested the ability of SERGOMIL®ECO to activate the synthesis of PR proteins dependent on the salicylic acid pathway.
PEELS® is a biostimulant based on a liquid formulation consisting of unsaturated organic acids, potassium and carboxylic acids.
The action method of PEELS® is based on its ability to reduce oxidative stress and mitigate abiotic stress conditions that may affect the cell wall due to excess moisture.