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  • The effect of drying process on the pigment content and composition of table beet varieties

    The food industry requires natural colouring agents in increasing quantities. Beet root is highly adapted to this purpose with its red (betacyanin) and yellow (betaxanthin) pigments suitable for numerous products. The two pigments are, however, very heat-sensitive depending not only on the method of drying as well. In our experiment we tested 6 table beet varieties with vacuum drying (instrument: Eurovac KIT-150) and obtained very big differences in the suitability of varieties for drying. The less colour loss was measured in Bordó (16.84%), while Rubin and Cylindra indicated 45.15 and 47.18% loss respectively. During the drying raw material with higher colour content produced higher rate of pigment loss (r = 0.880). In our experiment we found adverse effects on colour material and dry matter content in the fresh beet root. The variety with higher solids (mainly sugar) resulted in higher pigment loss (r = -0.847) during the vacuum drying process. Furthermore, we stated that the yellow pigments (betaxanthin) were less heat sensitive during drying than the red (betacyanin) ones. For the production of beet root powder varieties of high pigment content but low water soluble solids content (sugar) are needed.

  • Effects of environmental factors on morphological and quality parameters of table beet root

    In our trial morphological and quality parameters of 15 table root varieties were tested at 3 different sowing dates: 15 April, 9 July and 19 August 2010. In the trials the root shape of the varieties form the April sowing date approached most the regular spherical shape (diameter/length –1.0) which is favoured both by fresh market and the processing industry. In the July and August sowings the roots were elongated with reduced proportions. The highest red pigment content (betacyanin) was observed in the second sowing of July (>80 mg/100 g). In the late sowing (August, under plastic tent) a further 10–20 mg/100 g pigment increase was measured in relation to the earlier sowing dates of the same varieties. A similar trend could be observed in yellow pigments (vulgaxanthis) which proves a close correlation between the quantities of the 2 pigments (r=0.823). The highest vulgaxanthin content (103.3–124.18 mg/100 g) was obtained form roots of the late sowing harvested in December. Varieties reacted differently to temperature and so to sugar accumulation in the different sowing periods. In the July sowing higher water soluble solids content was measured on the mean of varieties (10.12 %) as compared to the April sowing (7.76%). Sensory evaluations included inner colour intensity (1–5), with ring (1–3) and taste (1–5) of the raw material evaluated by scoring. According to laboratory measurements better inner colour intensity was observed in the July and August sowing dates. In these samples uniformly coloured, almost with, ring-free roots were obtained. In our trial varieties from the spring sowing had superior taste. Early sowing is recommended for fresh market sale while the second crop (July) harvested in autumn can satisfy processing requirements. In the late sowing (under unheated plastic tent) fresh beet root can be grown at the end of autumn or beginning of winter, thus prolonging the usability of plastic tents.

  • Obtention of new ornamental leaf variants of giant reed (Arundo donax L.) originated from somatic embryogenesis and their photosynthetic parameters

    Giant reed (Arundo donax L.) is a perennial rhizomatous herbaceous plant, it has been widespread all over the world by human activities. It is a 2-8 meter high, polyploid, sterile species (not produce viable seeds), it can be propagated only by vegetative methods (rhizomes, stem cuttings, in vitro biotechnological methods). It has considered promising dedicated energy crop thanks to high biomass production (20-40 dry tons per hectare depending on microclimate), adaptability of different kind of soils and environment and low energy input required for its cultivation. It has been utilized for energetic purposes, biogas/bioethanol production, cellulose/paper production and ornamental purposes. The objectives of the present study were to determine morphological properties of new ornamental giant reed leaf variants originated from somatic embryogenesis and to evaluate their photosynthetic pigment content and photosynthetic activities. The most typical changes was the appearance of different colour (white, yellow, light green) longitudinal stripes on leaves (also on petiole and on leaf blade). It was significant differences (p<0.05) between green and leaf variants in case of photosynthetic pigments content and photosynthetic activity (Fv/Fm value). There was no detectable chlorophyll a or b content in the white bands of leaves and albino shoots. Total chlorophyll content of the white striped leaf variety was more than twice than the light green leaves. Photosynthetic activity and content of photosynthetic pigments also confirm and determine the morphological characteristics and growth habit of leaf variants.

  • Evaluation of morphological parameters and bioactive compounds in different varieties of beetroot (Beta vulgaris L. ssp. esculenta GURKE var. rubra L.)

    Beetroot consumption based on pickled beets generally in Hungary which is due to the higher yield from second crop harvested in autumn and processed by manufacturing industry. Researches of the past years confirmed its favourable nutritional-physiological effects on human body so demands, as for fresh salad, also increased. The trial aimed at testing the interaction of varieties on quality parameters and in the same time suggestions are made how to use different varieties of beetroot according to its quality. Morphological and sensory evaluations were examined on 10 varieties of beetroot harvested in autumn. The regular spherical shape can reduce the refining loss during the processing of beetroot which is beneficial for the manufacturing industry. In our trial the root shape of Libero, Mona Lisa and Rubin varieties approached most the regular spherical shape (diameter/length – 1.0) which is favoured by not only processing industry but also fresh market. The highest red pigment content (betanin) was observed in Mona Lisa, Akela and Cylindra (34.58–47.66 mg/100 g). A similar trend could be observed in yellow pigments (vulgaxanthins) which proves the close correlation between the quantities of the two pigments (r=0.898). Highest total polyphenol (77.13–83.37 mg GAE/100g) and flavonoid (21.73–22.73 mg CE/100g) contents were detected in Akela, Mona Lisa and Bonel. These varieties are favourable for fresh salad and they can satisfy processing requirements also. Highest water soluble solids content was found in Akela (7.15%). In our conditions nitrate (NO3-N) values below 900 mg/kg were examined in all of the varieties which is favourable in the case of beetroot.

  • Rhizogenesis in in vitro shoot cultures of passion fruit (Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa Deg.) is affected by ethylene precursor and by inhibitors

    The effects of the ethylene precursor ACC and two inhibitors, AgNO3 and AVG, on root formation were tested in in vitro shoots of passion fruit (Passiflora Midis f.flavicalpa Deg.). The organogenic response was assessed on the basis of percentage of shoot-forming. roots, root number and length. The time course of ethylene production was also monitored. ACC inhibited root formation by delaying root emergence and increasine, callus formation at the basis of the shoots. In addition, ACC caused a marked increase in ethylene production, coupled to leaf chlorosis and senescence with lower rooting frequencies, number and length of roots. IAA supplementation increased ethylene production. Both ethylene inhibitors, AgNO3 and AVG, at appropriate concentrations reduced callus formation at the basis of shoots. AVG increased the number of roots per shoot, but drastically reduced length of differentiated roots. Regarding to leaf pigments, ACC promoted a marked reduction on carotenoids and total chlorophyll, whereas AVG and AgNO3 delayed explant senescence and pigments degradation, not differing from IAA supplemented and non-supplemented control treatments. The results confirm previous reports on the beneficial effects of ethylene inhibitors on in vitro rooting and suggest its reliability to be used as an alternative approach to evaluate sensitivity of Passiflora species to ethylene.


  • Sunburn assessment: A critical appraisal of methods and techniques for characterizing the damage to apple fruit

    Many methods and techniques have been introduced for measuring alterations in the fruit and in its surrounding environment related to sunburn incidence. The research objectives, fruit materials and the environment to be evaluated dictate the methods to follow. These procedures are either non-destructive and involve techniques that allow us to track the course of sunburn development and related environmental parameters, or destructive and involve the removal of fruit from the tree for field/laboratory measurements. Techniques employed can be used for pre-symptomatic monitoring (before symptoms become visible) or characterizing the symptoms already present. The principles behind the measurements and their usefulness for sunburn assessments are discussed and critically evaluated in this review paper. Descriptions and evaluations of the methods and techniques were made in the following groups: 1. Thermal measurements; 2. Visual assessments; 3. Fruit quality measurements; 4. Measurements of physiological and biochemical alterations; and 5. Practical evaluation of sunburn damage. Thermal measurements involve methods tracking the ambient temperature and fruit surface temperature, and their relation to sunburn formation. Visual assessments cover all measuring techniques (skin color, chlorophyll fluorescence, radiation reflection, electron microscopy) that are able to detect changes on/in the fruit skin related to sunburn formation. Fruit quality measurements are used to point out differences in qualities (soluble solids, firmness, titratable acidity, and water content) between unaffected and sunburned areas of the fruit. The measurements of physiological and biochemical alterations (gas exchange, pigment analysis, enzyme activity, gene expression) give us a better insight to the mechanism of sunburn formation. Practical evaluations involve many procedures that are used by scientists to characterize the susceptibility of cultivars, evaluate protection technology, etc. For this purpose, the following methods are in use: expressing the percentage of the total fruit surface area affected by sunburn or the percentage of the total number of fruits damaged on the tree, or even a scale based on the severity of the symptoms occurred. All assessing methods and techniques described here have their pros and cons as well as their specific applicability, therefore any of these cannot be favored to use exclusively for assessing sunburn incidence. The combination of these techniques will be the best choice to meet a given research objective perfectly.

  • Ecological drought resistance and adaptability of apple varieties

    For adequate yields in apple plantations, during the long growing period of the fruit primordia, one of the decisive factors is water supply. Indicators of stress are valuable signs for the diagnosis of drought and necessity of watering, i.e. planning the irrigation of plantations. The aim of the present study was to find reliable signs of water stress on apple trees and at the same time conclude on the drought tolerance of different varieties. The plantation of apple varieties grafted on various stocks and cultivated according to different systems (irrigated, non irrigated, integrate and biological) has been examined continuously by leaf analysis. Along the period of growing fruits, measurements were made in the field, then the leaf samples were analysed in the laboratory for composition of pigments, carbohydrates and antioxidants, as well as the histology of the tissues checked. Without irrigation, the mean leaf mass and the relative chlorophyll content (SPAD) of the variety Idared on M4 stocks increases beyond the values of 50 SPAD, whereas on M26 stock and integrated system, it declines. In the collection of varieties, grown according to the „integrated” system, during the development of fruits, ‘Gála’ and ‘Remo’ varieties have been affiliated to the “less susceptible” group regarding drought tolerance because of the leaf morphology, structure and content of SPAD and antioxidants. However, ‘Idared’ and ‘Jonagold’ belong to the “susceptible” group. To the same group are ranged the ‘Akane, Red Rome vanWell, Pink Lady’ varieties. Those varieties reacted to a short period of drought by increased production (content) of carbohydrates. Regarding changes of carbohydrate content ‘Greensleeves’ and ‘Ozark Gold’ varieties belong to the moderately water dependent (requiring) group. In the field, SPAD-tests facilitated the measurement of nutrient-uptake and incorporation, which is proved by the tight correlation between the data of SPAD and the increment of leaf weight (r=0.76–r=0.88), however, this depends on the variety too. SPAD is an indicator of water supply and is related with the density of stomata, cannot used for the selection of water-exigent varieties but for (drought) tolerant ones. In integrated culture, the (drought) susceptible varieties display (water-soluble) hydrophilic and lipophilic antioxidants (ACWand ACL resp.) the quantity of which may have some role in drought tolerance.

  • Using compost of grape manufacture and farm wastes as growing media in vegetable ad ornamental nurseries

    This work was conducted at private nursery in Kafr El-Sheikh governorate during 2006 and 2007 seasons to investigate the possibility of using grape manufacture waste compost (GMWC) and farm wastes compost (FWC) in ornamental and vegetable nurseries as partially or totally replacement of coconut peat (CP) and vermiculite (V) in the growing medium and also to find out the optimum media of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum, cv. Castle Rock) and Cockscomb (Celosia plumosa) as comparing to a mixture of CP and V (1:1 v/v). The authors used a ten mixtures as followed: 1- Control (CP+V at 1:1 v/v), 2-GMWC (100 %), 3- GMWC +CP (1:1 v/v), 4- GMWC + V(1:1 v/v),5- GMWC +CP + V (1:1:1 v/v/v), 6- FWC (100 %),7- FWC+ CP (1:1 v/v), 8- FWC+ V (1:1 v/v), 9- FWC+ CP+ V (1:1:1 v/v/v), 10- GMWC+FWC+CP+V (1:1:1:1 v/v/v/v). Data recorded as seedling height, No. of leaves, total pigments, shoot fresh and dry weights, root length and root fresh and dry weights in order to assess the quality of both transplants of tomato and cockscomb. Both seedlings grown in medium contain a mixture of GMWC+CP+V displayed quality traits similar or better as to those of recorded from the control treatment.

  • Introduction of alkanet (Alkanna tinctoria (L.) Tausch), a traditional dye plant into cultivation

    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.