Onion Research Institute Gyeongsangnam-do Agricultural Research and Extension Services1
Department of Horticultural Bioscience, Pusan National University,2
IDepartment of Horticulture, University of Georgia3
Many onion growers and researchers assert that differences in soil type, agricultural practices, weather, and duration of prolonged onion cultivation in a particular field could affect onion bulb quality. This study evaluates the bulb quality of onions grown in different regions and determines the correlations between bulb characteristics and postharvest loss during cold and ambient storage. Soil and onion bulbs were collected from fields in six onion growing regions in Korea, during the growing season of 2011-2012. The fresh weight, dry matter content, and carbon (C), sulfur and magnesium contents of the onion bulbs were significantly affected by the location in which they were grown. Bulbs grown in Muan had the greatest number of scales, thinnest scale thickness, and the highest total soluble solids (TSS) and total flavonoids (TF). Bulbs originating from Jecheon had the lowest pyruvic acid (PA), total phenolics and TF. Storage loss of bulbs from the different regions was similar in refrigerated storage, but differed in ambient temperature storage. Bulb fresh weight was positively correlated with scale thickness (r = 0.617) and cold storage loss (CSL; r = 0.398). Dry matter content was positively correlated with C (r = 0.958) and TF (r = 0.256) contents, while it was negatively correlated with CSL (r = -0.424). CSL was primarily affected by the fresh weight, as well as the dry matter, C, and PA contents of the bulbs, while ambient storage loss was primarily influenced by the amount of TSS.