The Benefits of Metalosate® Calcium in Melons

Posted: October 19, 2021

Calcium levels in fruit directly correspond with storage and shelf life and significantly factor into fruit firmness.

Introduction

Calcium, though considered a secondary nutrient, is present in similar concentrations as nitrogen and potassium, and is vital to many physiological processes effecting plant growth and fruit quality in addition to shelf life. Metalosate® Calcium, powered by Albion technology, contains chelated minerals that reach the proper areas of the fruit more effectively, you can learn more about that process here.

Research

Dr. Gene Lester, of the USDA and one of the world’s leading post-harvest physiologists on melons, conducted an experiment dipping honeydew melons post-harvest in a solution of Balchem’s calcium amino acid chelate (Metalosate Calcium). The melons were dipped for 20 minutes and air dried. Tests showed a remarkable change in the shelf life of the dipped melons. The treated melons’ shelf life was extended 2.4 times longer, an equivalent of 24 days1,2.

Balchem representatives realize that many growers field-pack their crops, and so have provided an in-field alternative for growers:

• Applying 1 quart/acre (946 ml) Metalosate Calcium at first commercial flowering

• Apply 1 quart/acre (946 ml) again two weeks later

• 10 to 14 days before harvest apply 1 quart/acre (946 ml) one last time

Melon Quality Comparison

Results

Growers who used this method reported their best ever quality, with increases in pack outs of 30 percent due to the firmness of melons. A replicated field study in Texas showed that not only were there increases in firmness but also in sugar. This demonstrates that Metalosate Minerals penetrate the skin and work in the plant. (See chart 1) In addition to the increased pack out rate, melons treated with Metalosate Calcium generally had firmer flesh after 21 days than non-treated melons. This also resulted in greater shipping capabilities and shelf life. (See chart 2) For more information about how Metalosate Calcium can be used in your operation contact a local Balchem representative.

1. Hardin, B. and Lee, J., “Melons Are On A Roll,” p.18-19, Agricultural Research, (Agricultural Research Service, USDA).https://agresearchmag.ars.usda.gov/1999/feb/melon/

2. Lester, G.E. and Grusak, M.A., “Postharvest Application of Calcium and Magnesium to Honeydew and Netted Muskmelons: Effects on Tissue Ion Concentrations, Quality, and Senescence,” J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 124(5):545-552