Nowadays, phytochemicals and antioxidants in plants are raising interest in consumers for their roles in the maintenance of human health. Phenolics and flavonoids are known for their health-promoting properties due to protective effects against cardiovascular disease, cancers and other disease. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is one of the traditional folk medicinal plants and it is widely used in cooking in Malaysia. In this study, four levels of glasshouse light intensities (310, 460, 630 and 790 μmol m(-2)s(-1)) were used in order to consider the effect of light intensity on the production, accumulation and partitioning of total phenolics (TP), total flavonoids (TF) and antioxidant activities in two varieties of Malaysian young ginger (Zingiber officinale). TF biosynthesis was highest in the Halia Bara variety under 310 μmol m(-2)s(-1) and TP was high in this variety under a light intensity of 790 μmol m(-2)s(-1). The highest amount of these components accumulated in the leaves and after that in the rhizomes. Also, antioxidant activities determined by the 1,1-Diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl (DPPH) assay in both of varieties, increased significantly (p ≤ 0.01) with increasing TF concentration, and high antioxidant activity was observed in the leaves of Halia Bara grown under 310 μmol m(-2)s(-1). The ferric reducing (FRAP) activity of the rhizomes was higher than that of the leaves in 310 μmol m(-2)s(-1) of sun light. This study indicates the ability of different light intensities to enhance the medicinal components and antioxidant activities of the leaves and young rhizomes of Zingiber officinale varieties. Additionally, this study also validated their medicinal potential based on TF and TP contents.
Recently, the quality-by-design concept has been widely implemented in the optimization of pharmaceutical processes to improve batch-to-batch consistency. As flavonoid compounds in pigmented rice bran may provide natural antioxidants, extraction of flavonoid components from red and brown rice bran was optimized using central composite design (CCD) and response surface methodology (RSM). Among the solvents tested, ethanol was most efficient for extracting flavonoids from rice bran. The examined parameters were temperature, solvent percentage, extraction time, and solvent-to-solid ratio. The highest total flavonoid content (TFC) in red rice bran was predicted as 958.14 mg quercetin equivalents (QE)/100 g dry matter (DM) at 58.5 °C, 71.5% (v/v), 36.2 min, and 7.94 mL/g, respectively, whereas the highest TFC in brown rice bran was predicted as 782.52 mg QE/100 g DM at 56.7 °C, 74.4% (v/v), 36.9 min, and 7.18 mL/g, respectively. Verification experiment results under these optimized conditions showed that the TFC values for red and brown rice bran were 962.38 and 788.21 mg QE/100 g DM, respectively. No significant differences were observed between the predicted and experimental TFC values, indicating that the developed models are accurate. Analysis of the extracts showed that apigenin and p-coumaric acid are abundant in red and brown rice bran. Further, red rice bran with its higher flavonoid content exhibited higher nitric oxide and 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl scavenging activities (EC50 values of 41.3 and 33.6 μg/mL, respectively) than brown rice bran. In this study, an extraction process for flavonoid compounds from red and brown rice bran was successfully optimized. The accuracy of the developed models indicated that the approach is applicable to larger-scale extraction processes.
The source and quantity of nutrients available to plants can affect the quality of leafy herbs. A study was conducted to compare quality of Cosmos caudatus in response to rates of organic and mineral-based fertilizers. Organic based fertilizer GOBI (8% N:8% P₂O₅:8% K₂O) and inorganic fertilizer (15% N, 15% P₂O₅, 15% K₂O) were evaluated based on N element rates at 0, 30, 60, 90, 120 kg h⁻¹. Application of organic based fertilizer reduced nitrate, improved vitamin C, antioxidant activity as well as nitrogen and calcium nutrients content. Antioxidant activity and chlorophyll content were significantly higher with increased fertilizer application. Fertilization appeared to enhance vitamin C content, however for the maximum ascorbic acid content, regardless of fertilizer sources, plants did not require high amounts of fertilizer.
A field study was conducted to determine the effect of organic and mineral-based fertilizers on phytochemical contents in the tubers of two cassava varieties. Treatments were arranged in a split plot design with three replicates. The main plot was fertilizer source (vermicompost, empty fruit bunch compost and inorganic fertilizer) and sub-plot was cassava variety (Medan and Sri Pontian). The amount of fertilizer applied was based on 180 kg K(2)O ha-1. The tubers were harvested and analyzed for total flavonoids, total phenolics, antioxidant activity and cyanogenic glucoside content. Total phenolic and flavonoid compounds were determined using the Folin-Ciocalteu assay and aluminium chloride colorimetric method, respectively. Different sources of fertilizer, varieties and their interactions were found to have a significant effect on phytochemical content. The phenolic and flavonoid content were significantly higher (p < 0.01) in the vermicompost treatment compared to mineral fertilizer and EFB compost. The total flavonoids and phenolics content of vermicompost treated plants were 39% and 38% higher, respectively, than those chemically fertilized. The antioxidant activity determined using the DPPH and FRAP assays were high with application of organic fertilizer. Cyanogenic glycoside levels were decreased with the application of organic fertilizer. Among the two types of compost, vermicompost resulted in higher nutritional value of cassava tubers. Medan variety with application of vermicompost showed the most promising nutritional quality. Since the nutritional quality of cassava can be improved by organic fertilization, organic fertilizer should be used in place of chemical fertilizer for environmentally sustainable production of better quality cassava.
Chilli (Capsicum annum L.) plant is a high economic value vegetable in Malaysia, cultivated in soilless culture containers. In soilless culture, the adoption of small container sizes to optimize the volume of the growing substrate could potentially reduce the production cost, but will lead to a reduction of plant growth and yield. By understanding the physiological mechanism of the growth reduction, several potential measures could be adopted to improve yield under restricted root conditions. The mechanism of growth reduction of plants subjected to root restriction remains unclear. This study was conducted to determine the physiological mechanism of growth reduction of root-restricted chilli plants grown in polyvinyl-chloride (PVC) column of two different volumes, 2392 cm3(root-restricted) and 9570 cm3(control) in soilless culture. Root restriction affected plant growth, physiological process, and yield of chilli plants. Root restriction reduced the photosynthesis rate and photochemical activity of PSII, and increased relative chlorophyll content. Limited root growth in root restriction caused an accumulation of high levels of sucrose in the stem and suggested a transition of the stem as a major sink organ for photoassimilate. Growth reduction in root restriction was not related to limited carbohydrate production, but due to the low sink demand from the roots. Reduction of the total yield per plant about, 23% in root restriction was concomitant, with a slightly increased harvest index which reflected an increased photoassimilate partitioning to the fruit production and suggested more efficient fruits production in the given small plant size of root restriction.