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Haijie Dou, Genhua Niu, and Mengmeng Gu

accumulation. Therefore, in our study, we chose basil ( Ocimum basilicum ) as a model plant and substituted partial red and/or blue light with green light at different green light proportions to investigate the effects of green light on plant photosynthesis

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Jacqueline A. Ricotta and John B. Masiunas

Black polyethylene mulch and weed control strategies were evaluated for potential use by small acreage herb producers. In both 1988 and 1989, the mulch greatly increased fresh and dry weight yields of basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.). Parsley (Petroselinum crispum Nym.) yield did not respond to the mulch. Preplant application of napropamide provided weed control for 2 weeks, but was subsequently not effective on a heavy infestation of purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.). Hand-hoed and glyphosate-treated plots (both with and without plastic) produced equivalent yields. Chemical names used: N, N -diethyl-2(1-napthalenoxy)-propanamide (napropamide); N- (phosphonomethyl) glycine (glyphosate).

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Jeanine M. Davis

Using various mulches for small-scale, commercial basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) production was examined. Sweet basil and bush basil, on raised beds with drip irrigation, were grown on bare ground or mulched with black polyethylene, wheat straw, hardwood bark, or mixed wood chips. Bacterial soft rot (Erwinia spp.) was highest for both basils grown with wheat straw and for sweet basil grown on bare ground or with back polyethylene mulch. Both basils grown with hardwood and pine bark mulches had few soft ret symptoms. All mulches provided acceptable weed control. Yields throughout the growing season were highest with black polyethylene mulch and lowest with hardwood and pine bark mulches.

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Mohammed Sarwar and Saleh A. Al-Namlah

Saudi Arabia is known for arid character and its total unsuitability for any agricultural exploitation. However; it is- now proving otherwise with the application of modern agrotechnology resulting in large scale production of many crops successfully. Considering the international growing demand of essential oils, need of agrocommunities for new crops, advantages of local warm climate and availability of generous government funding system, essential oil production offers immense potential in Saudi Arabia. This paper intends to describe the prospects of raising Pelargonium graveolens, Mentha arvensis, Artemesia pallens, Cymbopogon winterianus, Cymbopogon flexuosus, Ocimum basilicum, Eucalyptus citriodora, Rosemarinus officinalis, Coriandrum sativum, Anethum graveolens, Jasminum grandiflorum and Pogostemon patchouli successfully at various ecosystems and to establish new agroindustries based on essential oils around the Kingdom.

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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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Frank Balestri and William R. Graves

The genus Nyssa L. includes several woody species with traits valued by horticulturists, but only black gum (Nyssa sylvatica Marsh.) is prevalent in the nursery trade. A congener, swamp tupelo (Nyssa biflora Walt.), might be a marketable shade tree, but little is known about propagating it from seeds. Because cold, moist stratification overcomes embryo dormancies of black gum, we compared germination of cleaned seeds (surrounding pulp of fruits removed) of swamp tupelo and black gum that were stratified at 5 °C for 0, 14, 28, 42, 56, 70, 84, and 112 days. Seeds of swamp tupelo within intact drupes were also stratified. Across all durations of stratification, 79% of cleaned seeds of swamp tupelo germinated, whereas 11% of seeds within drupes germinated. Germination value of cleaned seeds of swamp tupelo increased from 1.26 to 3.23 as duration of stratification increased. Although cleaned seeds of black gum responded similarly, the benefit of stratification was more pronounced, and the mean germination percentage was lower than for swamp tupelo (66% vs. 79%). In a second experiment, irrigation with low and high concentrations of an extract of fruit pulp of swamp tupelo reduced germination of seeds of basil (Ocimum basilicum L. ‘Superbo’), spinach (Spinacea oleracea L. ‘Bloomsdale’), zinnia (Zinnia ×marylandica Spooner, Stimart, and Boyle ‘Double Zahara Cherry’), and swamp tupelo by 25% to 63% (low concentration) and 40% to 70% (high concentration). Propagators should remove the surrounding pulp from seeds of swamp tupelo and cold stratify them at least for 4 weeks.

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Diana L. Lange and Arthur C. Cameron

The effect of controlled atmospheres (CA) on the development of injury symptoms and storage life of sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) cuttings was assessed. Three-node basil stem cuttings were placed in micro-perforated low-density polyethylene packages and stored in the dark at 20 °C in a continuous stream of nitrogen containing the following percentages of O2/CO2:21/0 (air), 21/5, 21/10, 21/15, 21/20, 21/25, 0.5/0, 0.5/5, 1/0, 1.5/0, 2/0, 1/5, 1.5/5, 1.5/7.5, and 1.5/10. Cuttings stored in an atmosphere of <1% O2 developed dark, water-soaked lesions on young tissue after only 3 days. Fifteen percent or more CO2 caused brown spotting on all tissue. Sweet basil stored in 1.5% O2/0% CO2 had an average shelf life of 45 days compared with 18 days for the air control. None of the CA combinations tested alleviated chilling injury symptoms induced by storage at 5 °C.

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Dean A. Kopsell, David E. Kopsell, and Joanne Curran-Celentano

Sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) is a popular culinary herbal crop grown for fresh or dry leaf, essential oil, and seed markets. Recently, basil was shown to rank highest among spices and herbal crops for xanthophyll carotenoids, which are associated with decreased risks of cancer and age-related eye diseases. The research goal for the current study was to characterize the concentrations of nutritionally important carotenoid pigments in popular varieties of basil. Eight cultivars of sweet basil (`Genovese', `Italian Large Leaf', `Nufar', `Red Rubin', `Osmin Purple', `Spicy Bush', `Cinnamon', and `Sweet Thai') were grown in both field and greenhouse environments and evaluated for plant pigments using HPLC methodology. Environmental and cultivar differences were observed for all of the pigments analyzed. `Sweet Thai' accumulated the highest concentrations of lutein, zeaxanthin, and β-carotene carotenoids in the field, while `Osmin Purple' accumulated the highest carotenoid concentrations in the greenhouse. Comparing the two environments, cultivar levels for carotenoid and chlorophyll pigments were higher in the field environment when expressed on both a fresh and dry weight basis. Exceptions were found only for the purple leaf basils (`Osmin Purple' and `Red Rubin'). Positive correlations existed between carotenoid and chlorophyll pigments in both environments. This study demonstrates sweet basil accumulates high levels of nutritionally important carotenoids in both field and greenhouse environments.

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M.C. Palada, S.M.A. Crossman, and C.D. Collingwood

Small-scale herb growers in the U.S. Virgin Islands traditionally water their crops with sprinkler cans and garden hoses. This method is inefficient and consumes large amounts of water, a scarce resource in the islands. Introduction of drip irrigation has reduced water use in vegetable production. Integrating this system with mulches may further cut water use, making herb production more profitable. Basil (Ocimum basilicum) was grown in plots with organic (compost or straw) and synthetic (black plastic or weed barrier) mulches. A no mulch control plot was also included. All plots were drip irrigated to maintain soil moisture at -30 kPa. Total plant fresh weight and leaf fresh and dry weights were highest in the compost mulch treatment. Fresh and dry basil yields in black plastic mulched plots were almost identical with those in compost mulch, but did not differ from other treatments. Black plastic mulch reduced water use 46% compared with 27% for compost or straw mulch. All mulch treatments resulted in increased water use efficiency. Organic mulches reduced surface soil temperature, while synthetic mulches increased soil temperature 2-5°C.

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Manuel C. Palada and Stafford M.A. Crossm

The Caribbean region is one major source of most herbs and spices consumed in the U.S. Although the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) is part of the Caribbean, local production of herbs and spices does not contribute significantly to exports into the U.S. market. Nevertheless, culinary herbs area” important horticultural crop in the USVI and their sale provides income for many small-scale growers. Little research has been done to improve field production in the USVI. Inefficient cultural practices used by growers result in low yields. Lack of information on fertilizer rates, irrigation and pest control methods is a major constraint to high yields. In 1988, the Agricultural Experiment Station initiated a project to improve field production of herbs and spices in the USVI. Use of drip irrigation, mulching and fertilizers has improved yields of basil (Ocimum basilicum) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris). This paper will discuss crop management studies to improve culinary herb production in the USVI. Increasing production may help reduce U.S. imports of these specialty crops from other Caribbean island nations.