Tomorrow's challenges in fruit nutrition research: Quo Vadis?.
Historically, nutritional research in fruit crops has emphasized the development of strategies to overcome soil and plant limitations resulting in nutrient deficiencies. Recently the emphasis has been placed on N and Ca, the nutrients most closely associated with fruit quality. Major global change factors are likely to affect the future conduct of nutritional research. These issues include the possible consequences of climate change, effects of high energy costs, efforts to maintain environmental quality, and also a secure supply of high quality fruit. Possible responses include precision horticulture with more targeted nutrient management. This in turn will require improved understanding of application efficiencies and the timing and magnitude of nutrient demand in order to synchronize fertilization more closely with plant requirements. Reductions in spatial and temporal variation in plant nutritional status should be investigated with respect to the potential to improve overall fruit yield and quality. Improvements in application technology to allow differential fertilization of individual plants would improve the flexibility of fertigation. Efforts to adopt more environmentally benign low input and organic production systems will require improved understanding of nutrient availability from organic and biological amendments. Improved genetic and molecular understanding of the complex processes comprising nutrient uptake, assimilation and recycling will need to be paralleled by similar efforts to understand nutrient cycling in ecosystems.
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