One of the most serious issues in mango production in Kenya, as well as other mango-producing countries around the world, is jelly seed disorder. Jelly seed is a physiological condition that expresses itself in the breakdown of tissues around the seed, reducing the marketability of the affected fruits. This problem presents itself in the affected fruits’ tissues around the seed, resulting in unmarketable fruits. Although the exact cause of mango jelly seed is unclear, some sources suggest that the condition is caused by an imbalance in the supply of Ca, Mg, N, and K to the fruit. In order to determine the scope of the problem in Kenya, a study was conducted in 2013 in three major mango-producing counties, Embu, Murang’a, and Meru, which are located in separate agro-ecological zones. Per county, three farms with homogeneous trees of “Tommy Atkins” and “Van Dyke” mangoes were chosen at random. To assess the nutrient status, soil and mango leaf analysis were performed. During the study period, data on rainfall and temperature were also collected. At harvest time, 50 tree-ripe fruits of each variety were randomly selected from 25 trees per site and sliced along the endocarp to reveal the seed, which was then visually inspected and graded using the Galan Sauco scale for the incidence of jelly seed. Meru vertisol and lithosol soils had higher Ca, Mg, and K content than Murang’a eutric Nitisol soils and Embu ferralic arenosal soils, according to soil research. Similarly, mango leaves and fruits from Meru county contained more calcium, magnesium, and potassium than those from Murang’a and Embu counties. Fruits from Embu county (both varieties) had more jelly seed than those from Murang’a and Meru counties. In comparison to ‘Tommy Atkins’ mangoes, ‘Van Dyke’ mangoes had significantly more jelly seed events. As a result, incidences of jelly seed are dependent on the variety as well as the agro-ecological zone where the mangoes are grown.

Author (s) Details

Joseph Njuguna
Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO), P.O Box 220-01000.Thika, Kenya.

Jane Ambuko
University of Nairobi (UoN), Kenya.

Margaret Hutchinson
University of Nairobi (UoN), Kenya.

Willis Owino
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Kenya.

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