Impacts on Productivity through Sustainable Fertilization of Nopal (Opuntia Ficus-Indica) Crops Using Organic Compost

  •  Maria Tavera-Cortés    
  •  Pablo Escamilla-García    
  •  Francisco Pérez-Soto    


This paper shows the results obtained when evaluating current practices in cultivation processes of nopal. Production of nopal in the borough of Milpa Alta in Mexico City has been based for more than 40 years on the use of high doses of fresh cow manure (up to 600 t ha-1). It is necessary to consider the effects that this type of fertilization could have on the environment. In order to compare the effect of different fertilization methods on the production, quality and shelf-life of cladodes, three-year-old cactus plants were fertilized with compost, compost leachate, fresh manure cow and synthetic fertilizer; plants treated with water served as a control. The plants fertilized with compost (leached or solid) tended to a higher yield (g) per plant, although there were no significant statistical differences between treatments. Cladodes produced with solid compost or fresh manure showed a lower pH (4.7) than those produced with water to the soil. Cladodes produced with synthetic fertilizers showed higher shear strength than those produced with manure. Cladodes produced with synthetic fertilizer and compost leachate took more days to show shelf darkening (oxidation) than those produced with soil water. In addition, the use of compost showed a significant impact on cost reduction during the production nopal given a lower cost against manure and synthetic fertilizer.

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