During the last century the medicinal and aromatic plant sector has became a successful part of the Hungarian Agriculture. Some of the national products have been accepted as a special Hungarian ones ("Hungaricum"), evaluated on the world market, respectfully. By the estimates the cultivation area of medicinal and aromatic plants increased up to 37,000-42,000 hectares and considerable amount — about 10, 000-15, 000 tonnes of dry biomass — are produced by utilisation of Hungarian indigenous flora, year by year.
In the present work ecological requirements of 97 collected and 55 cultivated medicinal and aromatic plants are characterised. Based on the analysis of -Ts (temperature regime values) about 63 per cent of cultivated species came from Submediterranean and Mediterranean type of habitat, originally, while the majority of collected plants (61.8 per cent of them) prefer the deciduous forest conditions. The differences between collected and cultivated species are appreciable too, if the distributions of their characteristic water regime ('W' values) are compared. The majority of cultivated species require dry (moderate dry) and fresh (moderate fresh) habitats, while the amplitude of water requirement of collected species is much more wide-ranging.
The regional specialisation of Hungary according to production of medicinal and aromatic plants is known from the beginnings of the 20th century. As a result of spontaneous process seven well-defined production areas were developed. The relationship between regions, their climatic conditions and spectrum of species produced there are analysed.
As it well known the decrease of biodiversity is a large problem all over the world. In case of medicinal plants, where the huge majority of drugs are collected from natural ecosystems, the sustainable, utilization of the populations and reservation of their gene-pools has an increased interest.
In Hungary, the major background of 'in situ' reservation of medicinal plant species, their natural plant associations and ecosystems is the official protection by law. Successful examples are known for the controlled utilization of medicinal and aromatic plant species grown in protected areas. Assuring the naturally occuring high degree of biological and chemical diversity of species is a special task in this field: only maintenance of valuable intraspecific races can form the real genetic basis of natural biologically active compounds.
Maintenance of chemotaxonomical gardens and gene bank collections (seed banks, tissue banks) as 'ex situ' methods of reservation is carried out on an extended range in Hungary. As the required information on storage and maintenance of many medicinal and aromatic plant species is yet missing, exhaustive research is carried out at both genebanks in Hungary, which are specialized for medicinal plant reservation (RIMAP- Budakalász, SZIU- Budapest).
Beside the static conservation methods, 'quasi-production systems' are intended to assure an up-to-date and economically possible way of dynamic reservation with sustainable utilization.
The utilisation of medicinal and aromatic plants is growing continuously, which is motivated by both psychological and rational factors. Species belonging to this special group of plants were produced in the territory of Hungary many centuries back. However, the intensification of the production started in the first years of 20 th century, only, and in spite of many political and economical contradictions the medicinal and aromatic plant sector became a successful part of Hungarian Agriculture. Some of the national products had been accepted as a special Hungarian product ("Hungaricum") evaluated as most respectful in the world market. To stabilise, even to develop the production of medicinal and aromatic plants in Hungary the understanding of the actual world situation, especially the forthcoming EU conditions, became essential. Based on the analysis of the situation market and economy of medicinal plant production, a new strategy had to be developed. The medicinal and aromatic plant sector requires a special development program, which should be supported by Hungarian authorities, focusing on the subjects, which are as follows:
In our research project under cultivation we examined 4 cultivars ('Soroksári 40', 'Lutea , 'Goral', 'Bona') and 28 wild populations of chamomile assuring all of them the same environmental conditions. Plant height, flower-diameter, essential-oil content, and the main terpenoid and flavonoid composition were analysed. The aim of our study was to establish the genetic background of breeding a new cultivar as well as encircle those natural habitats that give chamomile drug with the best quality.
In the case of plant height populations from the Great Hungarian Plain were lower than plants from Transdanubia and the control cultivars. Between the wild and the standard individuals we found significant differences with relevance to the flower-diameter. With regard to the essential oil content the populations were very heterogeneous even those, which came from the same habitat. Populations form Transdanubia and Nagyiván reached the essential oil level of the cultivars (0.721-0.931 gi100g), and 75% of the examined plants exceeded the minimum requirement of the PhHg VIII.
According to the essential oil composition our previous statement was confirmed that in the populations of Transdanubia and Northern part of Danube—Tisza Mid Region the main component is bisabolol-oxide A (30-41.2%), while plants native to the territory cast of the river Tisza are mainly characterised by a-bisabolol (32.3-48.4). In some samples the ratio of bisabolol-oxide B was more than 10%. The chamazulene content was higher in the cultivars selected to this component (above 20%), than in the wild populations (varied between 1.22 and 17.2%). Populations originated from the central part of Hortobágy region had extremely high apigenin content (10-13 mg/g), but in the case of chlorogenic acid, hyperoside and quercitrin we did not find any differences affected by the origin.
Several species in the Lamiaceae family are therapeutically significant medicinal plants. Such as sage (Salvia officinalis L.), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.), peppermint (Moldier piperita L.). marjoram (Majomna hortensis Winch), thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.), Origanum spp., hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis L.), Lavandula spp., basil (Ocimum basalicum L.), lemon-balm (Melissa officinalis L.) are regularly produced in Hungary. Nevertheless, data on their floral biology are not satisfactory. This review intends to gather information on the characteristic constitution of flowers and inflorescences, blooming dynamics, pollination mechanism and crossability of some of the most significant medicinal and spice species
Flowers are mainly hermaphrodite, however, also monoeceous ones are turning up: pistillate flowers marjoram, tyme, oregano. In flowering of a plant individual, a basipetal blooming sequence is described. These species have a floral structure fully adapted to pollination by insects, and the majority of them is an excellent honey-plant (lavandel, hyssop, sage, etc.).
Flowers exhibit characteristic proterandry, therefore autogamy is considered to be almost impossible, and geintonogamy as well as xenogamy to be the most characteristic ways of fertilization. However, in several cases self-fertilization proved to be also successful. Crossability among cultivars or species is depending on the genotype combination and usually produces less seed than the above forms of fertilization.
The Apiaceae family consists of several species which are well known for their therapeutical use and also as spice plants. Although fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.), caraway (Carton carvi L.), anise (Pimpinella anisum L.), coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.), dill (Anethum graveolens L.), angelica (Angelica archangelica L.) and lovage (Levisticum officinale Koch.) are also economically considerable cultures, data on their flowering biology are rather scarce. This review supports data on the characteristic constitution of flowers and inflorescences, flowering dynamics, pollination mechanism and crossability of some of the most significant medicinal and spice species.
The inflorescence is a compound umbel. Flowers are hermaphrodite, however also monoeceous, mainly male flowers are turning up too. In blooming of a plant individual, a strict sequence is observed. The main umbel is the first to bloom, followed by the different range umbels in order of their range. In their pollination, both wind and insects are considered to be active. For each species, proterandry is characteristic. Although autogamy is considered to be almost unpossible, and geintonogamy as well as xenogamy to be the most characteristic ways of fertilization, several cases of self-fertilization proved to be also successful. Crossability among cultivars or species is depending on the genotype combination and usually produces less seed set than the above forms of fertiliiation.
Oxygen free radicals play an important role in the development of different disorders like inflammatory-immune injury, carcinogenesis, hepatic toxicity and artherosclerosis. The antioxydant role of a wide spectrum of natural products has been established. Flavonoids and other phenolic compounds (proanthocyanidins, rosmarinic acid, hydroxicinnamic derivatives, catechines, etc.) of plant origin have been reported as scavengers and inhibitors of lipid peroxidation.
We have studied the antioxidant activity as well as content and composition of natural phenolics in a series of medicinal plants with phytotherapeutical significance. Thus we determined the total phenol contents and studied the composition of flavonoids, polyphenols, phenolic acids of different vegetative and reproductive organs of medicinal plants: Anthriscus cerefolium (L.) Hoffm., Petroselinum crispum L., Cichorium intybus L., Helichrysum arenarium D.C.„cempervivum tectorum L., Taravacum officinale Web.
Characteristic constituents in the various crude drugs were determined by chromatographic (TLC, HPLC) and spectroscopic (UV, UV-VIS) methods. The non specific scavenger activities of the medicinal plant extracts were studied by the chemiluminometric technique. The changes of chemiluminescence intensity of the H,G,•0H-luminol system at increasing concentrations of the H702/ -OH were measured. Inhibitory effects of selected standardized fractions from plants were tested on ascorbic acid induced lipid peroxidation in rat liver and homogenates.
The best correlation were established with total phenolics in some medicinal plants (S. tectorum, T. officinale) while activities in other cases seem to be influenced by flavonoids (P. crispum, H. arenarium, A. cerefolium) and by hydroxicinnamic derivatives (C. intybus).
Aloe vera is one of the most famous medicinal plants. Aloin and aloe emodin are the most important active compounds in this plant. The purpose of this research was the comparison of aloin and aloe emodin production after the elicitation by methyl jasmonate, salicylic acid, and phenylalanine in diploid and tetraploid Aloe vera plants in greenhouse conditions. The plants were treated with the concentrations of 25, 50, and 100 µM. The amounts of aloin and aloe emodin were determined 24 and 48 hours after application of the treatment. HPLC analysis showed that the leaves of the control diploid plants (without applying elicitors) had more aloin (1.20 fold) and aloe emodin (1.14 fold) than the control tetraploid plants. The maximum concentration of aloin (1.15 ± 0.07 µg mg-1 dry weight) was obtained after the elicitation by 25 µM methyl jasmonate, 24 hours after treatment, in diploid plants) 6.36 fold compared to the control (0.18 µg mg-1 dry weight (. In addition, the maximum concentration of aloe emodin (0.28 µg mg-1 dry weight) was obtained after the elicitation by 25 µM salicylic acid, 24 hours after treatment, in diploid plants) 6.18 fold compared to the control (0.04 µg mg-1 dry weight)). The long-term effect of three studied elicitors (after 240 days) on plant health and survival was also studied. This investigation showed that only methyl jasmonate at a concentration of 100 µM was resulted in the death of Aloe vera plants.
Matricaria recutita L. is a traditional medicinal plant in Hungary and its drug is known as „Hungaricum", world-wide. Plant samples and seeds were collected from 12 different habitats of three significant geographical regions of Hungary in 2001. Morphological, production biological and chemical properties of samples were examined. In relation to the morphological characteristics, a negative correlation (r= -0.75) could be observed between the average height of the plants (height of flowering shoots) and the pH value of the soil. According to the composition of the essential oil, the populations accumulating typically chamasulene (10-20%), a-bisabolol (30-50%) or bisabolol-oxid (30-50%) could be completely distinguished. Concerning the flavonoid composition the quantity of apigenin-7-glucoside was outstanding in the populations originating from the Great Hungarian Plain, it has reached the concentration of 1.8-2.8 mg/g, while the samples collected in Transdanubia could be characterised by much lower level of apigenin-7-glucoside (around 1.5 mg/g).
More than 15 million hectares of Iran’s land areas are suffering from salinity.We investigated the effects of two types of salt (NaCl, CaCl2) in different levels on the germination and initial growth of two medicinal and aromatic plants, Melissa officinalis L. and Ocimum basilicum L. The experiment was carried out in Qazvin Agriculture and Natural Resource Research Center based on a randomized complete block design, for 14 days in a germinator. Sweet basil germinated above 50% in each saline treatment (EC=10 dSm-1), in alkali treatment (CaCl2=18800 mg/L) and in sodic-saline treatment (Ec=10 dSm-1; SAR=5.6), however at the highest concentrations germination was slowed down. Lemon balm showed a higher sensitivity: except the lowest NaCl treatment, each other ones inhibited germination and its rate to some extent. The combined treatments of both salts increased the stress reactions. However, seedling growth was less effected. The results showed a stimulating effect of NaCl treatment in 2500 mg/L (EC<5 dSm-1) for both species concerning germination and seedling growth.
In our work the effectiveness of supercritical carbon dioxide extraction was studied on volatile and nonvolatile components of Lamiaceae herbs. The aim of our investigations was to determine the optimal extraction parameters yielding high amount of volatiles and nonvolatiles in a desirable composition. As plant materials, dried and powdered cude drugs of Satureja hortensis, Ocimum basilicum and Melissa officinalis were chosen. Pressure (8-50 MPa), temperature (35-60 °C), time (5-60 min) and the ratio of modifier (5-50% methanol) of extraction were regulated. Results obtained by supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) were compared to that of the conventional extraction procedure, hydrodistillation (HD). In the case of Satureja hortensis, Ocimum basilicum and Melissa officinalis extract yield of SFE was comparable to the essential oil amount obtained by hydrodistillation from the same drug. Essential oil rich extracts were analysed by GC-FID, while extracts rich in nonvolatile compounds were analysed by HPLC. We have found that yield and quality of SFE extracts highly depend on the conditions of extraction.
Taxonomical evaluation of six taxa of the Achillea aggregate was carried out to determine their potential for breeding and cultivation. We used complex morphological, cytological and chemical aspects of characterisation. Three taxa of tetraploid genom and high chamazulene contents (33-40% ess.oil) proved to be A. collina Becker. A strain of wild origin had also high -bisabolol content and high oil level, comparable with the selected cultivars. A population was identified as new chemotype of A. pannonica Scheele with typical morphological and cytological traits, a wide sesquiterpene spectrum but lacking of 1.8 cineole and -pinene. We found a mixed population which consisted of both A. collina and A. pannonica plants. A tetraploid, azuleneless taxon could be concluded as A. pratensis Saukel and Langer not described before in Hungary. The diverse performance of the populations calls the attention to the significance of controlled plant raw in phytopharmaceutical products.
The choice of varieties among medicinal plant species is relatively small, compared to other horticultural crops. In Hungary, only poppy (Papaver somniferum) and mustard (Sinapis alba) have several cultivars. Recognising the problem, in the recent years breeding activity has been intensified all over the world, in spite of financial, technical and legal difficulties. The article reports on the results of breeding at the Department of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of the Szent István University, 11 varieties of which has been officially registered till 2000. Main goals of genetic improvement are: increasing of the production capacity of utilised plant organs, enhancement of active material accumulation capacity, improvement of sensory quality and technological properties. The most often applied methods are selection, and recently, cross breeding, the results of which can be measured on new materials of caraway (Carum carvi), hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), marjoram (Majorana hortensis), poppy (Papaver somniferum), etc. Efficacy of breeding work is established by additional, regular research on the genetics, physiology, floral and reproductive biology, chemosyndromes of medicinal plant species.
Widespread application for herbal medicines based on Hyperici herba has been experienced in the last few years, especially in the treatment of depression syndrome. As the wild origins could not satisfy the market demands neither in quantitative nor in qualitative respect, the necessity of the development of intensive growing methods has been raised. In the course of our investigations we intended to clear up the morphological and chemical variability among and within populations of different origin in order to start a new breeding program. According to our data, growth dynamics of populations could be characterised by a logistic curve. According to the time of flowering the populations formed early, middle and late groups. Morphological diversity among populations was measurable in differences of flower length, plant height, different leaf types and plant habit, according to which characteristics groups were distinguished. Generally, the accessions were the most homogenous in plant height (CV: 7-15%), followed by inflorescence-lengths (CV: 11-36%) and the least uniform characteristics proved to be the number of flowering shoots (CV: 14-59%). The greatest morphological heterogeneity was experienced in the accessions of wild origin as it has been expected. In the second vegetation period generally a much better homogeneity was obtained, than in the first year. The most outstanding accessions produced 1.2 t of dry flowers and 4 t of dry flowering shoots, calculating to one hectare area. The individual yields varied on a large scale in each population (CV: 18-70%).
The content of hypericin varied between 1,85 and 9,9 mg/g in 1996, and between 0,18 and 2,70 mg/g in 1997, showing high individual divergences. Flavonoid values -including first of all hyperosid, rutin and quercitrin - reached 17-39 mg/g in the first and 15-20 mg/g in the second year, respectively. Individual and seasonal variation was less than in hypericin. A joint high level of these two compound groups seems to have low frequencies.
The superior population were selected for further breeding.
In this study the changes of the characteristics of Satureja hortensis herb were investigated during flowering period, in case of savories of 4 different origins. The change of drying ratio, leaf/stem ratio, essential oil content, the ratio of several essential oil components (carvacrol, y-terpinene, p-cymol, a-pinene, p-pinene and fi-caryophyllene) were studied from bud formation till seed ripening.
Lavandula species are worldwide grown essential oil producing medicinal plants with considerable economic value. Beside volatile oil, lavender also contains different phenolic compounds which have been less widely studied till now. Cultivation of lavender has become widespread in Hungary in the recent years, however, growers have limited knowledge on the productivity of cultivars available. In our research we were aimed to studying the antioxidant capacity and total polyphenol content of samples collected in two growing areas (Dörgicse and Szomód) from flowers of two L. angustifolia (‘Hidcote’, ‘Munstead’) and two L. × intermedia (‘Grosso’, Grappenhall’) varieties, during the full blooming period of 2017. Antioxidant capacity of the samples was determined by FRAP assay (Benzie and Strain, 1996), while total polyphenol content (TPC) was measured by a modified method of Singleton and Rossi (1965). According to our results, varieties of L. × intermedia showed higher values of antioxidant capacity and of total polyphenol content, than those of L. angustifolia cultivars. Among them, both the antioxidant capacity (179.6 mg AAE/g DW) and total polyphenol content values (152.4 mg GAE/g DW) of ’Grosso’ from Dörgicse were the highest. Concerning FRAP values of all the cultivars investigated, larger variability were found in Dörgicse, than in Szomód. Regarding the effect of growing area, each cultivar represented similar FRAP values in Dörgicse and in Szomód, except for ’Grosso’. However, in the case of TPC values, higher variability was observed between the growing areas, especially in the case of ’Grosso’. In the future our studies on lavender polyphenols will be completed with qualitative evaluation of the values obtained by HPLC analysis.
The growth rate of three rosemary clones, `Harmat', 'Salem' and `Horvát', their essential oil content and its components as well as the total phenol content and total antioxidant capacity in their aqueous and ethanolic extracts were compaired. Total phenol content (determined by Folin-Ciocalteau reagent) and antioxidant power (FRAP-value) of aqueous and ethanolic rosemary extracts were measured by spectrophotometric method. The essential oil content was determined from drug by water-steam distillation. `Harmat' showed the most intensive growth through the vegetation period. The total antioxidant power of the ethanolic extracts from all the three clones was similar: a decrease was observed at the end of the season. In most cases more antioxidant compounds were dissolved in the aqueous extracts. The total quantity of phenolic compounds shows a good correlation with the potential extent of stress effects. The difference among the phenol contents of the various clones can be derived from the difference in their tolerance, because phenols have antioxidant effects contributing to protection against harmful impacts. Difference between the two extraction methods (aqueous and ethanolic) is due to the distinct solubility of compounds. Some other components, like essential oil compounds also possess antioxidant effect and in this way they may influence the antioxidant power of extracts.
In the recent studies two Foeniculum vulgare Mill. populations (Hungarian and Korean) had been studied in open field trials in 1997-98 in Budapest for the identification of their essential oil characteristics. The essential oil accumulation level as well as the composition of the oil were studied during ontogenesis and at 6 phases of the umbel development from budding to overripening.
In the vegetative phases, the accumulation level of the essential oil was higher in the Hungarian genotype. In the leaf rosette stage, anethole is the main compound in both genotypes (40-96%), except the root of the Korean populations which contains 54% dillapiol. The accumulation level of anethole is slightly decreasing, while dillapiol is slightly increasing during the ontogeny. a- and [3-pinenes are characteristic compounds of the leaves, especially in the Korean genotype (10-11%). Before seed setting, fenchone was present in a considerable amount (7.5%) only in the umbels of the Hungarian genotype.
During the generative development, the maximum values of essential oil content are reached at the milky fruit stage (10,11%) in the Hungarian. and at the green fruit stage (7.1% ) in the Korean type, while the composition of the essential oil changed only slightly. The ratio of fenchone is increasing after flowering and being stable during ripening. Anethole varies to a smaller extent in the umbels, only.
We proved, that the dinamics of essential oil accumulation and the oil composition may vary according to genotype. Based on our results, the Korean population is characterized in the system of Bernáth et al. (2) as a high anethol-low methyl chavicol chemoform of the anethol chemovariety (fenchone<15%; anethole>68%; methyl chavicol< 3,2%).
As a part of the research project to establish natural sources of plant pigments, possibilities of introduction of Alkanna tinctoria (alkanet) into cultivation were studied.
As a result of the germination experiment, the relevance of 21 days' duration of germination procedure was proved. To get high germination rate alkanet fruits are proposed to pretreat by gibberellinic acid (GA3) in the concentration of 400 ppm, overnight before sowing. This method results approximately 50 % germination rate.
The morphological and production properties of alkanet roots are characterized during ontogenesis. Transplanted populations can be characterized by numerous, thick and heavy roots comparing to the spontaneous ones. Thus, seed sowing and transplantation proved to be an effective method for cultivation of the species.
According to our results it can be concluded that in cultivation the optimal harvesting time of roots is at the end of the second vegetation cycle, when the dry root mass of the individuals is about 10-20 g with 3,0-3,5 % accumulation level of active substances.
Considerable seasonal variability have been found influencing not only the root masses, but also the accumulation levels of alkannin derivatives. In a more humid vegetation cycle the root size and mass as well as the content of active substances are much higher.
In our work the effectiveness of supercritical carbon dioxide extraction was studied on volatile components of Lamiaceae herbs. The aim of our investigations was to determine the optimal extraction parameters yielding high amount of volatiles in a desirable composition. As plant materials, dried and powdered cude drugs of Thymus vulgaris, Thymus pannonicus, Satureja hortensis, Ocimum basilicum, Rosmarinus officnalis and Salvia officinalis were chosen. Pressure (8-30 MPa), temperature (35-60 °C) and time (5-60 min) of extraction were regulated. Results obtained by supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) were compared to that of the conventional extraction procedur, hydrodistillation (HD). In the case of Thymus vulgaris, Thymus pannonicus and Salvia officnalis, extract yield of SFE was comparable to the essential oil amount obtained by hydrodistillation from the same drug. Essential oil rich thyme extracts were analysed by GC-FID. We have found that yield and quality of SFE extracts highly depend on the conditions of extraction.
Marjoram is one of the most important spices in Hungary, which is utilized both in phytotherapy as well as in alimentary industry. Organoleptic quality of the drugs of two Hungarian varieties of Majorana hortensis /'Francia' and 'Magyar'/ were investigated by two different methods of sensory analysis. The chemical composition of the material was checked by GC analysis of the distilled essential oil. Although their main compounds and proportions showed similar patterns, both the human and instrumental sensory tests based on the complex odour and aroma of the drug, proved a significant differentiation of the two varieties.
On the basis of our results, sensory evaluation may be a useful tool in the practice in determination of complex aromatic values of marjoram, as a spice. At the same time it seems to be a suitable method in promotion of breeding efforts.
Self-heal (Prunella vulgaris L.), known as a remedy traditionally used as Chinese medicine, was neglected in modern pharmacy until the 20th century. Although in the Middle Ages it was respected for its wound-healing effect, the usage of this medicinal plant was confined just to the conventional pharmacy. Nowadays, because of the great dislike of synthetic materials, however, self-heal has become one of the most important target plants again. Owing to its valuable active constituents, besides its wound-healing effect, the plant can also be used as hepato-protective, antioxidant, anti-HIV, anti-cancer remedy, and it is effective against Herpes virus, as well. Its taste — and odourless extracts are applied by the food industry as natural food preservatives. Taking into account the importance of self-heal our aim was to introduce this plant species more detailed with regard to its active agents, effects and cultivation methods.
Aim of the present investigations was the optimalization of the production of the annual cultivar `Napfény' of Verlxiscum phlomoides L. Quantitative data on morphology (growth, leaf and flower size, branching) yield and content of active materials (mucilages, flavonoids) were studied at six sowing times.
We established, that sowing time may be one basic factor in the production of the annual variety. The major yield was obtained by sowing either late autumn (end of October) or early spring (middle March). At these plots the fresh mass of the flowers was 257-288 g/plant, the drug mass 28-29 g/plant, by 45-70% more than that of the mean of other treatments.
It was established, that under optimal cultivation conditions the annual form of mullein may reach higher individual yields than the plants of the indigenous wild growing population.
The cooperation of Hungarian professionals with Chinese, Thai, South-Korean, Taiwanese and Brazilian colleagues should deserve much more attention than actually done. We refer to the transfer and adaptation of production technologies as well as biotechnological developments in vegetables, fruits, ornamentals and medicinal plants from the Temperate Zone to the tropical and subtropical regions. According to our information Hungarian colleagues involved in extension work are highly esteemed on the same level as Japanese, Chilean, Italian and French colleagues. We could state that immigration of investors, local enterpreneurs as well as those coming from expansive regions of Europe, North America and oversses, representaives of supermakets keeps to be accelerated by the increasing confidence triggered also by the successful management of profitable plantations, vineyards and fruits initiated first about 15 years ago.
For Hungary, the presence and achievements of Hungarian horticultural expertise in tropical and subtropical zones yielded unequivocal advantages. Therefore, the next actual step of development would mean the organisation of a network of the "Units of Horticultural Mission" in the tropic and subtropic countries. We are convinced that those Units will stimulate the traffic of technologies as centers of transfer within and between the regions and contribute to the increasing influence of professionals on the production and trade of horticultural commodities. The introduction and testing of new varieties of vegetables, fruits, medicinal plants (as well as ornamentals), the development of the growing technologies, adaptation and acclimation of Temperate Zone germ plasm representing the general trends of advanced production will be the most important tasks of the Mission with a sufficient oversight upon the whole world. It is taken as a fact that Hungarian horticulture and breeding is competitive on the world market. We are ready to contribute to the development of horticulture on a worldwide scale. The Hungarian R & D will be attentive in the future to manage the accumulated capacities by information and mediating needs and offers to the volonteers of the profession. The reality of the above propositions are amply proved by successes of the Agroinvest Co and of other professionals registered in abroad.
To keep on the top of the world list of the profession we have to follow up the international trends by our permanent presence on the most important centers of administration and production of the world in order to hold on the hot line of the Hungarian administration competent in financing the R & D activities. We need specialists which are open minded, speak languages, familiar with the tricks of informatics, economics and politics, competent in deals, able to make decisions, etc. The education and training should be strenghtened to he conform with those trends. That proposal involves also the need to follow up the activities of the transnational companies, the regular, active participation on international conferences, the permanent attention paid to electronic informations available in the worldwide networks as well as the printed periodicals of horticulture. It is also related to the attraction of investors to the developments aimed within the country as well as abroad. At last but not at least we have to keep in mind that the work performed abroad by the Hungarian professional is a kind of "para-diplomatic mission" which cannot be substituted by any other, sometimes very expensive activity charged on the officia erliplomatic missions. The benefit of it is, however, valid to the whole country because false stereotypes developed during the last 50 years cannot be abolished otherwise.
The demand of natural and medicinal products has been increased for the past years. These products are often made from herbal and medicinal plants, and recently the mushroom products are much called. Nearby some well known species (like Lentinula edodes or Ganoderma lucidum) some not respected biomedicines are available in Hungary. Agaricus blazei (Murrill) is a Basidiomycota fungus, with almond-like taste and nice texture. This medicinal mushroom proved to be useful in cancer therapy and against some bacterial and viral diseases. In our experiment we tested 8 Agaricus blazei strains on fermented mushroom compost. The yields, average mushroom size, productivity and biological efficiency of the species were measured. Our data demonstrate that it is possible to get fruit bodies less than 2 months, and strain "837", "2603" and "MaHe" are suggested for further experiments. These strains gave the highest yield and efficiency in the cultivation.