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Pineapple yield and fruit quality effected by npk fertilization in a tropical soil

Abstract: There is a lack of information about fertilization of pineapple grown in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. So a field experiment with pineapple ‘Smooth Cayenne’ was carried out to study the effects of NPK rates on yield and fruit quality. The trial was located on an Alfisol in the central part of the State of São Paulo (Agudos county). The experimental design was an incomplete NPK factorial, with 32 treatments set up in two blocks. The P was applied only at planting, at the rates of 0; 80; 160 and 320 kg/ha of P2 05 , as superphosphate. The N and K2 O rates were 0; 175; 350, and 700 kg/ha, applied as urea and potassium chloride, respectively, divided in four applications during the growth period. Response functions were adjusted to yield or to fruit characteristics in order to estimate the nutrient rates required to reach maximum values. The results showed quadratic effects of N and K on yield and a maximum of 72 t/ha of fresh fruit was attained with rates of 498 and 394 kg/ha, respectively of N and K2 O. In order to reach the maximum fruit size, and to improve the percentage of first class fruit (mass greater than 2.6 kg), were necessary rates of N and K respectively 11 and 43 % higher than those for maximum yield. No effect of P rates was observed on pineapple plant growth, despite the low availability of this nutrient in the soil. The effect of N rates was negative on total soluble solids and total acidity while the opposite occurred with K, which increased also the content of vitamin C. High yield and fruit size were closely related to N and K concentrations in the leaves. Index terms: Ananas comosus (L.) Merrill, mineral nutrition, growth, soil fertility, and tropics.