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Liangli Yu, Mario Morales, and James E. Simon

Hydro-distilled essential oils from fresh and dry leaves and fresh and dry flowers of `Sweet Dani', a new ornamental lemon basil (Ocimum basilicum) cultivar with potential as a source of natural citral, were analyzed by GC and GC/MS. The essential oil contents were 0.18%, 0.19%, 0.30%, 0.28% w/w on a fresh weight basis of fresh and dry leaves, and fresh and dry flowers, respectively. Oils from leaves and flowers differed significantly in content and composition. The major constituents in dry leaf oil were neral 21.8% and geranial 33.5%. The major constituents in dry flower oil included: nerol 11.5%, neral 12.9%, geraniol 7.6%, and geranial 17.7%. Nerol (1.6%), and geraniol (0.4%) were very low in dry leaf oil. As citral is a combination of neral and geranial, the relative leaf and flower citral content is 55.3% and 30.6% of the total oil, respectively. Linalool and octanol were detected in flower oils only.

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Winthrop B. Phippen and James E. Simon

The importance of anthocyanins as a food coloring, UV protectant, inhibitor of pathogens, and medicinal compound has been well-documented, with more than 300 anthocyanin compounds being reported in plants. The Lamiaceae family, including sage, thyme, and basil, has long been recognized as a rich source of diverse and unique anthocyanins. Because purple basil varieties have become more popular in the ornamental and herb trade, we conducted a study to identify and characterize the anthocyanins present in eight varieties of purple basils (Ocimum basilicum) utilizing high-pressure liquid chromatography, spectral data and plasma-desorption mass spectronomy. Nine different anthocyanins were identified. Seven of the pigments were cyanidin-based, with cyanidin-3-(6”-p-coumarylglucoside)-5-(6”'-malonylglucoside) as the major pigment. Two minor pigments based on peonidin were also identified. Total anthocyanin content was also determined and comparisons made to other anthocyanin sources.

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Roberto F. Vieira and James E. Simon

Ocimum species are largely used in Brazil both as a condiment and in traditional medicine against bronchitis, cough, and sorethroat in the form of tea or syrup. As little research has examined the natural products from Brazilian basil, 14 accessions of Ocimum, including O. basilicum (4), O. campechianum (3), O. gratissimum (6), and O. kilimandsharicum (1), collected in Brazil were grown in the Purdue Univ. greenhouse and upon maturity harvested, the volatile oil extracted and analyzed by GC/MS. Thirty-one constituents were identified. Three accessions of O. gratissimum showed high content of eugenol (40% to 66%), while the other accessions contained either high thymol (33%) or p-cymene (28% to 42%). The constituents of the single O. kilimandscharicum included 1,8-cineole (39%), methyl-chavicol (21%), and ß-bisabolene (23%). O. campechianum accessions contained either high 1,8-cineole (62%) or high ß-caryophyllene (79%). O. basilicum could also be separated chemically: a linalool:methyl chavicol type (47:28%); one methyl chavicol type (72%), and a third, methyl cinnamate (61%). One accession was identified containing >90% trans-methyl cinnamate, which crystallized during extraction. Plants rich in targeted compounds, such as the one with 90% trans-methyl cinnamate, can be used as source of germplasm for breeding and potential commercialization

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Thomas H. Boyle, Lyle E. Craker, and James E. Simon

Plants of rosemary [Rosmarinus officinalis L. (Lamiaceae)] were grown in pots containing a soilless (1 sphagnum peat:1 perlite) or soil-based (1 sphagnum peat: 1 perlite:1 field soil) growing medium and fertilized with either 12N-5.2P-12.5K controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) at 9.0 g/pot; constant liquid fertilization (LF) with 20N4.3P-16.7K at 150 mg N/liter; constant LF at 150 mg N/liter, plus CRF at 4.5 g/pot; weekly LF at 150 mg N/liter; or weekly LF at 150 mg N/liter, plus CRF at 4.5 g/pot. Constant LF plus CRF generally reduced plant height and depressed shoot fresh weight relative to other fertilizer regimes. Essential oil content was highest in plants receiving weekly LF. Plants grown in the soil-based mix were shorter, shoot fresh and dry weight tended to be lower, and essential oil yield was higher when compared to plants grown in the soilless mix. Satisfactory growth was obtained in both media when rosemary plants were fertilized with 12N-5.2P-12.5K CRF at 9.0 g/pot or weekly LF with 20N<.3P-16.7K at 150 mg N/liter.

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Alison R. Cutlan, John E. Erwin, and James E. Simon

Parthenolide, a biologically active sesquiterpene lactone found in feverfew [Tanacetum parthenium (L.) Schultz. Bip.], has been indirectly linked to the antimigraine action of feverfew preparations. Commercial products of feverfew leaves vary widely in parthenolide content (0-1.0%/g dwt). No comprehensive studies have quantified parthenolide variation among feverfew populations or cultivars, and whether morphological traits are correlated with this natural product. In this study, 30 feverfew accessions were examined for parthenolide content, morphological traits, and seed origin. Statistically significant differences in parthenolide levels were found among the populations studied. Parthenolide content ranged from (0.012% ± 0.017 to 2.0% ± 0.97 /g dwt) as determined by HPLC-UV-MS. Higher parthenolide levels tended to be in wild material (0.41% ± 0.27) as opposed to cultivated material (0.19% ± 0.09). Parthenolide levels correlated with flower morphology: disc flower (0.49% = B1 0.36), semi-double (0.38% ± 0.13), double (0.29% ± 0.16), and pompon-like flower (0.22 ± 0.14). Leaf color also appeared to be indicative of parthenolide levels, with the light-green/golden leafed accessions showing significantly higher parthenolide content than darker-leafed varieties, but whether this was due to inadvertent original selection of a high parthenolide-containing golden leaf selection is not yet known. This study does show that further selection for improved horticultural attributes and natural product content is promising to improve feverfew lines for the botanical/ medicinal plant industry.

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Liangli Yu, Denys J. Charles, Jules Janick, and James E. Simon

The aroma volatiles of ripe fresh `GoldRush' and `Golden Delicious' apples (Malus ×domestica Borkh) were examined using dynamic headspace to capture the volatiles and gas chromatography (GC)–GC–mass spectroscopy (MS) analysis for compound identification. A total of 21 aroma volatiles were identified, with 16 being common to both cultivars: toluene, butyl acetate, hexyl formate, 2-methylbutyl acetate, xylene, butyl propionate, pentyl acetate, s-butyl butanoate, hexyl acetate, iso-butyl 2-methylbutanoate, hexyl propionate, hexyl butanoate, hexyl 2-methylbutanoate, hexyl hexanoate, a-farnesene, and ethyl phthalate. Three volatiles [dipropyl disulfide, pentyl 2-methylpropionate, and 2,6-bis(1,1-dimethylethyl)-2,5-cyclohexadiene-1,4-dione] were unique to `Golden Delicious'; two compounds (nonanal and nerolidol) were unique to `GoldRush'. Most identified compounds were esters. Hexyl acetate (18.39%) was the major volatile in `Golden Delicious', while butyl acetate (13.40%) was the highest in `GoldRush'.

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Jules Janick, James E. Simon, Anna Whipkey, and Ben Alkire

NewCROP (New Crops Resource On-line Program) is an Internet resource (http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop) developed by the Indiana Center for New Crops and Plant Products to deliver instant topical information on the subject of fiber, energy, and specialty crops. NewCROP includes CropSEARCH (an index to food and feed crops of the world, including taxonomic information, uses, and economic importance), FactSHEETS (in-depth articles on selected crops), NewCROP Import–Export (importation permits, phytosanitation certificates, quarantine and inspection information), Organizations (listings of crop organizations, societies, and interest groups), FamineFOODS (includes about 1250 species that are consumed in times of food scarcity), and FarmMARKET (listing locations of United States farmers' markets). The web site also includes new crop bibliographies, directories of new crop researchers, announcements of pertinent up-coming symposia and crop conventions, the New Crop Center newsletters, and activities of the Indiana Center for New Crops. A search engine is provided for quick information retrieval from the system. An electronic bulletin board, NewCROP LISTSERV is maintained for posting queries and messages to subscribers. We are planning to incorporate material from three books (>1930 pages and 6000 index entries) derived from New Crops symposia and published as Advances in New Crops (1990), New Crops (1993), and Progress in New Crops (1996). The NewCROP digital information program is interlinked with FAO's EcoCROP system and the Australian New Crops Programme, as part of a developing world-wide crop information network.

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Meny Benady, Amots Hetzroni, James E. Simon, and Bruce Bordelon

We have developed an electronic sensor (“sniffer”) that measures fruit ripeness rapidly and nondestructively by measuring the aromatic volatiles that are naturally emitted by ripening fruit. In this study, we evaluated the potential of using the fruit ripeness sniffer in the quality sorting of blueberries. Blueberries were first visually classified into four distinct ripeness classes: unripe; half-ripe; ripe; and over-ripe and quantitatively measured for color, firmness, TSS, and sugar acid ratio. Ripeness classification accuracy with the sniffer matched or exceeded that of all other ripeness indices. The sniffer differentiated unripe, ripe and over-ripe berries within one second, but could not distinguish between the unripe and half-ripe class. Detection of l-2 damaged or 1-2 soft fruit spiked within a large container of 24-37 high quality ripe fruit was also achieved, but required a response time of 10 seconds. Electronic sensing of aromatic volatiles may be a useful new technique in the grading and sorting of blueberries.

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Gwendolyn Eason, Richard A. Reinert, and James E. Simon

Three watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum & Nakai] cultivars with different ozone (O3) sensitivities were grown in a charcoal-filtered greenhouse and exposed in continuous-stirred tank reactor chambers to five levels (0, 100, 200, 300, or 400 nL·L-1) of sulfur dioxide (SO2) in the presence (80 nL·L-1) or absence (0 nL·L-1) of ozone (O3) for 4 hours/day, 5 days/week for 22 days. In the presence of O3, SO2 increased foliar injury in all three cultivars, but the impact was greatest for the most O3-sensitive cultivar, `Sugar Baby,' moderate for `Crimson Sweet,' and least for the least O3-sensitive cultivar, `Charleston Gray.' For all cultivars, SO2 intensified O3 suppression of leaf area for the first seven mainstem leaves and of dry weights for aboveground and total plant tissues. Root dry weight was independently suppressed by both pollutants, and the root: top ratio was linearly suppressed by SO2 alone. Sulfur dioxide combined with O3 can be detrimental to crop species such as watermelon. Thus, the potential for SO2 phytotoxicity should not be summarily dismissed, especially in the vicinity of SO2 point sources where O3 co-occurs.

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Ali O. Sari, Mario R. Morales, and James E. Simon

Echinacea pallida, one of the three medicinal Echinacea species native to North America, is generally wildcrafted, and low and uneven seed germination are obstacles to its widespread cultivation. Nonstratified E. pallida seeds were treated with 2500, 3500, and 4500 mg/L GA3 to increase seed germination. Treated seeds were directly germinated at 25 °C and 25/15 °C (14/10h) or stored at 5 and 10 °C for 4, 8, and 12 weeks before germination at the same temperatures. Seed germination across treatments was higher at 25 °C (19%) than at 25/15 °C (14%). Application of 2500, 3500, and 4500 mg/L GA3 significantly increased seed germination rate and total seed germination of nonstratified seeds of E. pallida and resulted in 44%, 50%, and 63% total seed germination, respectively, while untreated control seeds germinated at only 9%. The effect of GA3 as a germination stimulant increased with cold storage, with maximum germination (83%) occurring after seeds were treated with 4500 mg/L GA3 and an 8-week cold storage period at 10 °C. The effect of cold storage periods of 4, 8, and 12 weeks and cold storage temperatures of 5 and 10 °C on seed germination were generally similar. Seeds collected from the upper rows of the seed heads germinated significantly higher (10.6%) than those collected from the lowest seed rows (2.4%).