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  • Author or Editor: F. Omar Holguín x
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Pecan (Carya illinoinensis) has high kernel antioxidant activity and unsaturated fatty acid content, which contribute to its nutraceutical properties. In the western United States, where soils are typically alkaline, pecan trees require frequent zinc (Zn) fertilizer applications to maintain normal canopy growth and nut production. Our objective was to investigate the effects of tree Zn fertilization on nutraceutical properties of ‘Wichita’ and ‘Western’ pecan kernels. Trees were fertilized with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) chelated Zn, which was applied to the soil at one of three seasonal rates for a total of three treatments: 0 (control), 2.2, or 4.4 kg·ha−1 Zn. Nut samples were collected and homogenized for analyses of kernel oil yield, hydrophilic antioxidant capacity, fatty acid profile, and γ-tocopherol content. Although soil Zn treatments did not significantly affect antioxidant capacity of defatted pecan kernels, Zn application had significant positive effects on both total kernel oil yield and γ-tocopherol content compared with the control. In conclusion, soil application of Zn fertilizer may increase the human health-promoting aspects of pecan kernels, a valuable attribute among health-conscious consumers.

Open Access

Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba Mill.) is also called Chinese date. There are ∼100 jujube cultivars with limited commercial availability, and the majority of them have scant details in the United States. In this study, nutrient dynamics during fruit maturation of different jujube cultivars grown at Las Cruces, Los Lunas, and Alcalde, NM, were examined in 2018 and 2019. Cultivars varied by location and year, and included ‘Li’, ‘Lang’, ‘Sugarcane’, ‘September Late’, and ‘Sherwood’. Parameters tested were total phenolic content (TPC), proanthocyanidins (PAs), vitamin C, cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), and antioxidant capacity: 2,2-diphenylpicrylhydrazyl radical scavenging capacity and ferric reducing antioxidant potential (FRAP). Moisture, TPC, PAs, FRAP, and vitamin C content decreased with fruit maturity; however, the latter stage of fruit maturity showed an increase in cAMP. Compared with fruit at full-red maturity, creamy fruit had TPC, PA, FRAP, and vitamin C concentrations that were 1.0 to 1.8, 4.4 to 12.4, 1.9 to 2.6, and 0.1 to 1.3 times higher, respectively, depending on location (P < 0.05). From creamy to full-red maturity, cAMP increased by 0.9 to 4.5 times. At full-red maturity, estimated TPC in jujube fruit ranged from 10.6 to 16.8 mg gallic acid equivalent per gram dry weight (DW), whereas estimated PAs ranged from 1.8 to 5.3 mg PA B2/g DW. Jujube fruit at full-red maturity had a vitamin C content that ranged from 649.0 to 1153.3 mg/100 g DW. At full-red maturity, the concentration of cAMP ranged from 148.1 to 277.6 μg/g DW in Las Cruces samples.

Open Access

Neomexicanus hops (Humulus lupulus var. neomexicanus) are receiving increased attention within the craft beer and nutraceutical industries. Characterization of bittering acids and essential oils in two neomexicanus varieties revealed wide ranges of bittering acid compositions and distinct essential oil profiles compared with ‘Cascade’ common hops (H. lupulus). Total phenolic content (TPC), expressed as gallic acid equivalent (GAE), in neomexicanus hops ranged from 50 to 100 mg·g−1 GAE, consistently higher than published literature values for hop TPC (2 to 50 mg·g−1 GAE). Results indicate that, compared with ‘Cascade’, neomexicanus hops have unique phytochemical characteristics, which may lead to new applications in brewing and nutraceutical fields.

Open Access

The climate conditions and chemical composition of root essential oils for 17 populations of Anemopsis californica in New Mexico were examined. The objective of this study was to observe the effect of environmental conditions and management conditions on essential oil composition in different populations of A. californica. Chemical concentrations of three abundant compounds—methyleugenol, thymol, and piperitone—were determined. Maximum accumulations of each compound were associated with different mean annual temperatures, precipitation, and elevation. Similar chemical profiles were detected in root samples recollected for four populations, suggesting retention of unique chemical profiles in different populations. Vegetative propagation of wild plants under cultivated conditions did not significantly alter the chemical profile of the root essential oil. The chemical concentrations for six essential oil components of A. californica roots were determined under field conditions with varying irrigation and nitrogen (N) fertilizer regimens. The concentration of only two compounds, thymol and piperitone, was increased by increasing irrigation. The concentration of all other compounds, methyeugenol, elemicin, 1,8-cineole, and myrtenol, were independent of the irrigation rates and N fertilizer rates used in the study. These results suggest that the chemical variability observed among different populations of A. californica is primarily genetically controlled and the environmental conditions in New Mexico are conducive to the production of this medicinal plant as a high-value crop.

Free access

Plant pigments represent a source of non-toxic compounds that are used as food or cosmetic coloring agents. Red-fruited varieties of Capsicum annuum can be extracted to isolate the red-colored xanthophylls, capsanthin, and capsorubin. Common commercial processes for this extraction use hexane as the extracting solvent and mild or no heat varieties of Capsicum. In this report, we describe a process for efficient extraction of these red pigments using green chemistry: CO2 supercritical fluid extraction and trapping the pigments in ethanol. Furthermore, we demonstrate that this method can be performed on hot or pungent Capsicum fruit and the resulting pigment sample has very low levels of capsaicinoids, 1 to 2 ppm. This process then can reduce the use of hazardous solvents and expand the type of fruit that can be used for the extraction of red pigments.

Free access