What was the challenge/ problem that was addressed? 

Inking is the internationally used name for a physiological disorder that is common in stone fruit, and in particular peaches. It consists of the appearance of dark spots on the surface of the fruit, affecting only the epidermis, due to bumps and friction during the harvesting and transportation process. It is an aesthetic defect, which reduces the fruit’s sale value in the fresh market. Its prevalence varies depending on the year, variety, plot and producer, but in some cases, it can be very high (80%), which can entail a very important financial loss for the producer, and significantly reduce the profitability of their operation as a result. Therefore, producers were interested in a more in-depth knowledge of this physiological disorder, in order to avoid it. 

How did you solve the problem? 

More information was needed to propose solutions to the problem. 

What are the success factors in solving the problem? 

Although none of the strategies studied provided satisfactory and/or conclusive results for understanding why it happens and therefore being able to eliminate it, it has been confirmed that some varieties of peach are more sensitive to this physiological disorder than others. This is an important information for producers. In addition, practical recommendations were proposed to producers: 

  1. Be aware of the variety’s susceptibility to this physiological disorder before planting. 
  1. Minimize the number of intermediaries used to pour the fruit into the box. 
  1. Harvest and pour the fruit into the crate as carefully as possible. 
  1. Harvest the fruit at an appropriate and uniform level of ripeness. 
  1. Control and monitoring of watering throughout the fruit’s ripening process. 
  1. Avoid high doses of watering in the last month before harvest. 

Unexpected fails if any 

None of the strategies applied provided satisfactory and/or conclusive results for understanding why it happens and therefore being able to eliminate it. 

Lessons learned. 

During the project we learned that the incidence of inking is the result of a combination of factors: climate, fruit physiology and soil composition, which together with the management of the plot can accentuate or mitigate this physiological disorder. 

What role does the advisor or advisory service play within the practical case? 

The leader of the group is a cooperative that provides advice to peach producers. They were the promotors of the group. They took contact with the research institute (IRTA) that could facilitate the study they were interested in and design the project in cooperation with them. The cooperative provided the fields in which the tests were carried out.   

Can your approach be transferred and/or adapted for other innovation challenges and regions? 


Estimated transferability on a scale from 1 to 5  

(where 1 is easy and 5 very difficult) 


For sharing the experience on the good practice, please contact Gemma Reig (gemma.reig@irta.cat)