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Attila Ombódi, Hussein Gehad Daood and Lajos Helyes

Carotenoids and tocopherols are important phytonutrients of orange-colored carrots. The main goal of this work was to investigate the effects of irrigation on the content and composition of carotenoids and tocopherols in an orange-colored carrot cultivar (Bangor) compared with a rain-fed control. The experiment was conducted for 2 years with a considerably different amount of precipitation during the growing season (576 mm in 2010 and 190 mm in 2011). Six carotenoids and four tocopherols were detected and quantitatively determined. Significant negative correlations were found between water supply and content of total carotenoids and total tocopherols. Irrigation significantly decreased the concentrations of these phytonutrients during the arid year of 2011. Water supply did not affect the carotenoid and the tocopherol composition, which can be an important factor for functional food manufacturers. A significant positive correlation was found between total carotenoid and total tocopherol concentrations, which is very favorable from a nutritional point of view.

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Attila Ombódi, Noémi Koczka, Andrea Lugasi, Hussein Gehad Daood, Mária Berki and Lajos Helyes

A 3-year experiment was conducted in central Hungary comparing the effect of an irrigation treatment on content and yield of dry matter, storage carbohydrates, vitamin C, total flavonols, and total polyphenols of onion (Allium cepa L.) grown from sets. Rain-fed plots were set as controls. Conditions during the first 40 days of the growing season had a decisive effect on yield and bulb size; warmer and dryer weather during this period resulted in lower yield. Colder and wetter weather conditions resulted in higher bulb yield, but also decreased accumulation of secondary metabolites. Dry matter content values ranged between 12% and 14% and were not influenced by the water supply. Storage carbohydrate-to-dry matter ratio was not changed by the water supply. Total flavonol contents (sum of the concentrations of nine individual flavonols) varied between 430 and 753 mg·kg−1 on a fresh weight basis. Total polyphenol values ranged between 607 and 1029 mg·kg−1 on a fresh weight basis. A statistically significant correlation was found between flavonol content and polyphenol content for the rain-fed treatment, but this was not the case for the irrigation treatment. Irrigation significantly increased total flavonol and total polyphenol concentrations during the dry years. Irrigation significantly increased the bulb yield by 33% to 160%, depending on the year. Consequently, by applying irrigation, yields of nutritive compounds became 1.5 to two times higher.