Nutritional quality and yield of onion as affected by different application methods and doses of humic substances.
Fertilization with humic substances (HS) has been proposed as target tool to improve crop production within a sustainable agriculture framework. The dose and application method are two factors that can influence the effect of HS on nutrient composition and productivity of onion. Therefore, our main objective was to assess the effect of each of the abovementioned factors, separately or interacting, on the quality and productivity of onion bulbs in a field test. The experimental design was completely randomized in a factorial 2 x 3, with two methods of application of HS and three different doses. The combined application method, immersion together with foliar pulverization, showed highest improvement of biomass and nutritional content of bulbs. However, while the intermediate dose of HS exerted greater increases on onion yield, productivity, carbohydrates and proteins levels in bulbs, mineral nutrient accumulation resulted especially when highest doses of HS were added. From a nutritional point of view, higher sweetness (from 113 to 149 mg g(-1) of soluble sugars in dry matter) and an improved P, K and Mg content of bulbs (4.00, 11.65 and 3.18 g kg(-1), respectively) in response to HS addition has been ascribed.