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J Sci Food Agric. 2014 Aug;94(11):2259-65. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6551. Epub 2014 Jan 24.

Phytochemical and quality attributes of pomegranate fruits for juice consumption as affected by ripening stage and deficit irrigation.

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Department of Irrigation, CEBAS-CSIC, P.O. Box 164, E-30100, Espinardo, Murcia, Spain.



Pomegranate (PG) is a drought resistant crop, thriving well with scarce water resources. The non-climateric character of PG remarks the importance of determining the optimum harvest time to improve quality and phytochemical properties of PG.


The influence of two different irrigation treatments on physico-chemical and phytochemical parameters of PG was assessed. Control trees (T0) were over irrigated (105% ETo). From the beginning of the second half of rapid fruit growth period to the last harvest, T1 plants were subjected to sustained deficit irrigation (33% ETo). Results indicated that T1 fruits exhibited a darker and more intense garnet colour than T0 fruits, but deficit irrigation led to a significant decrease in total fruit yield and number of total fruits per tree. T1 fruits showed similar bioactive quality than T0 fruits; however, T1 fruits advanced the optimal harvest time by about 7-8 days with respect to T0 fruits.


Late-pomegranate fruits were rich in phytochemicals and could be of great interest to the juice industry. Knowledge of these trends is important, especially to improve PG juice quality and to contribute to the sustainability of PG culture with respect to water, fertiliser and energy saving.


Punica granatum; anthocyanins; antioxidant capacity; harvest time; midday stem water potential; polyphenols

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