Morphological, physical and chemical traits related with fruit quality characteristics of Spondias purpurea L. agroecosystems were studied in Central-West Mexico for wild and cultivated populations. Spondias purpurea regularly thrive in shallow, rocky infertile soils unsuitable for conventional crops. The weight, axial and radial length, pH, total soluble solids (SST), reducing sugars, proteins and mineral content in fruits were recorded. The mean fresh fruit weight was superior in the cultivated varieties (20 g) than in the wild (16 g). Similarly the highest values of pH, SST, reducing sugars and protein content (3.3, 12.15º Brix, 0.38 g/100 g and 1.18 g/100 g, respectively) were observed in the cultivated plantations compared with wild populations (3.0, 8.31º Brix, 0.24 g/100 g and 0.14 g/100 g, respectively). In cultivated plantations, productivity ranged from 0.15 ton ha-1 to 5.0 ton ha-1, and must be considered satisfactory, considering the low inputs of fertilizers and pesticides applied to orchards. The fruits of S. purpurea are similar in nutrimental content to more important commercial fruit species; it produces fresh fruits during the dry months of spring, when few fresh fruits are available in the local markets. In addi-tion, S. purpurea is a source of water and food for domestic animals and wild fauna. These traits emphasize their agronomical and ecological importance for tropical and subtropical environments, where it can also be used in reforestation programs because it can grow in infertile rocky soils, and in agroecosystems inhabited by low income farmers that practice subsistence agriculture. In fact, the cultivation of Spondias has helped convert marginal lands into productive lands.
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