Fruit & Fruitlet Testing Update
For those customers who have previously undertaken apple fruitlet and fruit testing through the Agriculture soil & plant laboratory, you should have received a letter advising of some changes ahead. If you missed the mailing list for some reason, then the main gist of the change is described here as well.
For some time now, we have had duplication in the laboratory across the Ag and Foods sections for apple and kiwifruit fruit testing, causing confusion with test codes and reporting units, which is not a great customer experience. As well, the Ag lab methods were still using perchloric acid as a digest medium, which is a very unsafe chemical for both people and the environment. Staff safety is of paramount importance to us, so this method change is a significant improvement from that aspect.
In consideration of both these reasons, we have now consolidated fruit and fruitlet testing within the Foods section, for improved efficiency and removal of the health and safety risks associated with the use of perchloric acid. Results by both methods have been shown to be highly comparable, so there is no adverse effect on continuity of result data expected.
Apple fruitlet testing is considered a helpful tool to mitigate for some storage disorders thought to be caused by nutritional imbalances in the fruit crop. Fruit analysis at maturity can also provide information on crop agronomy with respect to nutrient compartmentalisation and fruit quality, although data from this harvest stage would only be useful for management of future crops.
From this season, results will be reported in tabular form as mg/100g (as received) for the major elements and mg/kg (as received) for the trace elements. A dry matter test can be done if results are wanted on a dry weight basis.
A new Technical Note titled Typical Apple Fruitlet and Fruit Mineral levels will be available on our website www.hill-laboratories.com, to provide generalised guidelines on expected levels.