Compost and Compost Tea Management of Mini Watermelon Cultivations Affects the Chemical, Physical and Sensory Assessment of the Fruits


Compost, rich in plant nutrients, is a readily available fertilizer with beneficial effects on physical, chemical, biochemical and biological properties of the soils. Moreover compost-based treatments can exert protective effects against plant diseases occurrence and/or stimulate an enhanced plant physiological status with improvements in quantity and quality of crop productions. In this study the effects of three different compost-based cropping managements on the productive response and main quality parameters of watermelon fruits were investigated. Treatments, in comparison with the conventional cultivation method, were: soil amendment with an agricultural waste compost (AWC), a municipal waste compost (MWC) and a foliar treatment with a compost tea blend (CTB). The productive responses and colour parameters related to compost treatments did not show significant differences compared to control ones, which reached a total yield of about 10.22 kg·m-2 with a mean weight of 2.74 kg. AWC caused a higher ascorbic acid content with an increase of 50% than conventional treatment, while fruits obtained by CTB showed higher values in firmness and Quality Index than control samples. The analysis of main sugars highlighted that the application of compost as biofertilizer influenced the ratio among fructose, glucose and sucrose with respect to those observed for control fruits.

Share and Cite:

Liguori, L. , Pane, C. , Albanese, D. , Celano, G. , Zaccardelli, M. and Matteo, M. (2015) Compost and Compost Tea Management of Mini Watermelon Cultivations Affects the Chemical, Physical and Sensory Assessment of the Fruits. Agricultural Sciences, 6, 117-125. doi: 10.4236/as.2015.61009.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Pane, C., Villecco, D. and Zaccardelli, M. (2013) Short-Time Response of Microbial Communities to Waste Compost Amendment of an Intensive Cultivated Soil in Southern Italy. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 44, 2344-2352.
[2] Zaccardelli, M., Pane, C., Scotti, R., Palese, A.M. and Celano, G. (2012) Use of Compost-Tea as Bio-Agrochemicals and Bio-Stimulants in Horticulture. Italus Hortus, 19, 17-28.
[3] Pane, C., Piccolo, A., Spaccini, R., Celano, G., Villecco, D. and Zaccardelli, M. (2013) Agricultural Waste-Based Composts Exhibiting Suppressivity to Diseases Caused by the Phytopathogenic Soil-Borne Fungi Rhizoctonia solani and Sclerotinia minor. Applied Soil Ecology, 65, 43-51.
[4] Scheuerell, S.J. and Mahaffee, W.F. (2002) Compost Tea: Principles and Prospects for Plant Disease Control. Compost Science and Utilization, 10, 313-338.
[5] Masarirambi, M.T., Hlawe, M.M., Oseni, O.T. and Sibiya, T.E. (2010) Effects of Organic Fertilizers on Growth, Yield, Quality and Sensory Evaluation of Red Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) “VenezaRoxa”. Agriculture and Biology Journal of North America, 1, 1319-1324.
[6] Wszelaki, A.L., Delwiche, J.F., Walker, S.D., Ligget, R.E., Scheerens, J.C. and Kleinhenz, M.D. (2005) Sensory Quality and Mineral and Glycoalkaloid Concentrations in Organically Grown Redskin Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum). Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 85, 720-726.
[7] Haglund, A., Johansson, L., Berglund, L. and Dahlstedt, L. (1999) Sensory Evaluation of Carrots from Ecological and Conventional Growing Systems. Food Quality and Preference, 10, 23-29.
[8] Gilsenan, C., Burke, R.M., Barry, R.C., O’Sullivan, G. and Pierce, E. (2008) An Evaluation of the Sensory Properties of Irish Grown Organic and Conventional Carrots (Daucus carota L.) and Mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus). School of Culinary Arts and Food Technology, Dublin.
[9] Zaccardelli, M., Villecco, D., Pane, C., Ragosta, G., Palese, A.M. and Celano, G. (2012b) “On Farm” Composting of Vegetable Residues. Proceeding of the ISWA World Solid Waste Congress, Firenze, 17-19 September.
[10] Pane, C., Celano, G., Villecco, D. and Zaccardelli, M. (2012) Control of Botrytis cinerea, Alternaria alternata and Pyrenochaeta lycopersici on Tomato with Whey Compost-Tea Applications. Crop Protection, 38, 80-86.
[11] AOAC (1990) Official Methods of Analysis. 15th Edition, Association of Official Analytical Chemists, Arlington.
[12] Cinquanta, L., Albanese, D., Cuccurullo, G. and Di Matteo, M. (2010) Effect on Orange Juice of Batch Pasteurization in an Improved Pilot-Scale Microwave Oven. Journal of Food Science, 75, 46-50.
[13] Cuccurullo, G., Giordano, L., Albanese, D., Cinquanta, L. and Di Matteo, M. (2012) Infrared Thermography Assisted Control for Apples Microwave Drying. Journal of Food Engineering, 112, 319-325.
[14] Albanese, D., Cinquanta, L., Cuccurullo, G. and Di Matteo, M. (2013) Effects of Microwave and Hot-Air Drying Methods on Colour, β-Carotene and Radical Scavenging Activity of Apricots. International Journal of Food Science and Technology, 48, 1327-1333.
[15] Harker, F.R., Stec, M.G.H., Hallett, I.C. and Bennett, C.L. (1997) Texture of Parenchymatous Plant Tissue: A Comparison between Tensile and Other Instrumental and Sensory Measurements of Tissue Strength and Juiciness. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 11, 63-72.
[16] Mao, L., Karakurt, Y. and Huber, D.J. (2004) Incidence of Water-Soaking and Phospholipid Catabolism in Ripe Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) Fruit: Induction by Ethylene and Prophylactic Effects of 1-Methylcyclopropene. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 33, 1-9.
[17] Ramos-Villarroel, A.Y., Aron-Mafteib, N., Martín-Bellosoc, O. and Soliva-Fortunyc, R. (2012) Influence of Spectral Distribution on Bacterial Inactivation and Quality Changes of Fresh-Cut Watermelon Treated with Intense Light Pulses. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 69, 32-39.
[18] Pardo, J.E., Gómez, R., Tardáguila, J., Amoz, M.R. and Váron, R. (1997) Quality Evaluation of Watermelon Varties (Citrullus vulgaris s.). Journal of Food Quality, 20, 547-557.
[19] Naidu, Y., Meon, S. and Siddiqui, Y. (2013) Foliar Application of Microbial-Enriched Compost Tea Enhances Growth, Yield and Quality of Muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) Cultivated under Fertigation System. Science Horticolturae, 159, 33-40.
[20] Rouphael, Y., Schwarz, D., Krumbein, A. and Colla, G. (2010) Impact of Grafting on Product Quality of Fruit Vegetables. Science Horticolturae, 127, 172-179.
[21] Xu, C.Q., Li, T.L. and Qi, H.Y. (2006) Effects of Grafting on Development, Carbohydrate Content, and Sucrose Metabolizing Enzymes Activities of Muskmelon Fruit. Acta Horticolturae Sinica, 33, 773-778.
[22] Taji, T., Ohsumi, C., Iuchi, S., Seki, M., Kasuga, M. and Kobayashi, M. (2002) Important Roles of Drought- and Cold-Inducible Genes for Galactinol Sythase in Stress Tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Journal, 29, 417-426.
[23] Li, T.L. (2000) Relation between the Vascular System and Photosynthate Translocation Pathways in Tomato Plants. Journal of the Japanese Society for Horticultural, 69, 69-75.
[24] Brian, G.A., Felix, K. and Robert, T. (2003) Symplastic Continuity between Companion Cells and the Translocation Stream: Long-Distance Transport Is Controlled by Retention and Retrieval Mechanisms in the Phloem. Journal of Plant Physiology, 13, 1518-1528.
[25] Dai, N., Petreikov, M., Portnoy, V., Katzir, N., Pharr, D.M. and Schaffer, A. (2006) Cloning and Expression Analysis of a UDP Galactose/Glucose Pyrophosphorylase from Melon Fruit Provides Evidence for the Major Metabolic Pathway of Galactose Metabolism in Raffinose Oligosaccharide Metabolizing Plants. Journal of Plant Physiology, 142, 294-304.
[26] Lingle, S.E. and Dunlap, J.R. (1987) Sucrose Metabolism in Netted Muskmelon Fruit during Development. Journal of Plant Physiology, 84, 386-389.
[27] Zhang, M.F., Li, Z.L., Chen, K.S., Qian, Q.Q. and Zhang, S.L. (2003) The Relationship between Sugar Accumulation and Enzymes Related to Sucrose Metabolism in Developing Fruits of Muskmelon. Acta Physiologica Sinica, 29, 455-462.
[28] Gross, K.C. and Pharr, D.M. (1982) A Potential Pathway for Galactose Metabolism in Cucumis sativus L., A Stachyose Transporting Species. Journal of Plant Physiology, 69, 117-121.
[29] Studer Feusi, M.E., Burton, J.D., Williamson, J.D. and Mason Pharr, D. (1999) Galactosyl-Sucrose Metabolism and UDP-Galactose Pyrophosphorylase from Cucumis melo L. Fruit. Physiologia Plantarum, 106, 9-16.
[30] Leskovar, D.I., Bang, H.J., Crosby, K., Maness, N., Franco, J.A. and Perkins-Veazie, P. (2004) Lycopene, Carbohydrates, Ascorbic Acid, and Yield Components of Diploid and Triploid Watermelon Cultivars Are Affected by Deficit Irrigation. The Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology, 79, 75-81.
[31] Melo, E.A., Lima, V.L.A.G., Maciel, M.I.S., Caetano, A.C.S. and Leal, F.L.L. (2006) Polyphenol, Ascorbic Acid and Total Carotenoid Contents in Common Fruits and Vegetables. Brazilian Journal of Food Technology, 9, 89-94.
[32] Lester, G.E., Jifon, J.L. and Rogers, G. (2005) Supplemental Foliar Potassium Application during Muskmelon Fruit Development Can Improve Fruit Quality, Ascorbic Acid and Beta Carotene Contents. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science, 130, 649-653.
[33] Lu, W., Yang, X., Sibley, J.L., Caylor, A.W., Foshee, W.G., Zhang, Y., Bannon, J.S. and Gilliam, C.H. (2008) Mixed Municipal Solid Waste Compost as a Soil Amendment on Yield and Heavy Metal Accumulation in Okra and Watermelon. International Journal of Vegetable Science, 14, 369-379.
[34] Huel, N.V. and Mai, Y. (2002) Manganese Toxicity in Watermelon as Affected by Lime and Compost Amended to a Hawaiian Acid Oxisol. Hort Science, 37, 656-661.
[35] Hao, Z.P., Wang, Q., Christie, P. and Li, X.L. (2007) Allelopathic Potential of Watermelon Tissues and Root Exudates. Science Horticolturae, 112, 315-320.
[36] de Albuquerque, M.B., dos Santos, R.C., Lima, L.M., Melo Filho, P.A., Nogueira, R.J.M.C., da Camara, C.A.G. and Ramos, A.R. (2011) Allelopathy, an Alternative Tool to Improve Cropping Systems. A Review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 31, 379-395.
[37] Hozores-Hampton, M., McSorley, R. and Stansly, P.A. (2012) Effects of Long-Term Organic Amendments and Soil Sanitation on Weed and Nematode Populations in Pepper and Watermelon Crops in Florida. Crop Protection, 41, 106-112.
[38] Thybo, A.K., Edelenbos, M., Christensen, L.P., Sorensen, J.N. and Thorup-Kristensen, K. (2006) Effect of Organic Growing Systems on Sensory Quality and Chemical Composition of Tomatoes. LWT—Food Science and Technology, 39, 835-843.
[39] Lombardo, S., Pandino, G. and Mauromicale, G. (2012) Nutritional and Sensory Characteristics of “Early” Potato Cultivars under Organic and Conventional Cultivation Systems. Food Chemistry, 133, 1249-1254.
[40] Vogtmann, H., Matthies, K., Kehres, B. and Meier-Ploeger, A. (1993) Enhanced Food Quality: Effects of Composts on the Quality of Plant Foods. Compost Science and Utilization, 1, 82-100.
[41] Fayed, T.A. (2010) Effect of Compost Tea and Some Antioxidant Applications on Leaf Chemical Constituents, Yield and Fruit Quality of Pomegranate. World Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 6, 402-411.
[42] Stino, R.G., Fayed, T.A., Ali, M.M. and Alaa, S.A. (2010) Enhancing Fruit Quality of Florida Prince Peaches by Some Foliar Treatments. Journal of Horticolturae Science and Ornamental Plants, 2, 38-45.
[43] Radovich, T.J., Cavaletto, C.G. and Valenzuela, H.R. (2000) Effect of Compost and Mineral Fertilizer Applications on the Sensory Quality of Basil (Ocium basilicum L.). Hort Science, 35, 465-472.
[44] Genthner, E.R. (2010) Identification of Key Odorants in Fresh-Cut Watermelon Aroma and Structure-Odor Relationships of Cis,cis-3,6-nonadienal and Ester Analogs with Cis,cis-3,6-nonadiene, Cis-3-nonene and Cis-6-nonene Backbone Structures. Thesis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana-Champaign.
[45] Pino, J., Marbot, R. and Aguero, J. (2003) Volatile Components of Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus [Thunb.] Matsum. et Nakai) Fruit. Journal of Essential Oil Research, 15, 379-380.
[46] Siddiqui, Y., Islam, T.M., Naidu, Y. and Meon, S. (2011) The Conjunctive Use of Compost Tea and Inorganic Fertilizer on the Growth, Yield and Terpenoid Content of Centella asiatica (L.) Urban. Science Horticolturae, 130, 289-295.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.