Friday, 31 January 2020 12:50

    PP3 – Pilot Case Study developed for AgroLabs Cluster

    Nowadays, there is an increasing interest both in industry and in scientific research for
    Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAP) due to their strong antioxidant and antimicrobial
    properties, which exceed many commonly used natural and synthetic antioxidants.
    Cultivation practices, fertilizers, climatic conditions, biotic/abiotic stress conditions, soil and
    season are some of the main factors that may affect the growth, yield and essential oils (EO)
    composition and properties. Postharvest storage management and drying conditions of MAP
    can also affect the quantity and quality of MAP.
    Medicinal and Aromatic Plants cultivation is a promising enterprise, well appreciated by
    industry and consumers. MAP can be adapted better in semi-arid regions and less fertile soils,
    whereas vegetables might failure to grow well. Cultivation practices can affect the carbon and
    water footprint, energy indexes. Hydroponics is an intensive cultivation technique with
    applications on MAP, but economic evaluation is still needed for grower’s profit. Plants grown
    in a controlled environment (minerals, microclimate, varieties etc.) can provide products
    (biomass, antioxidants, EO) to the market with constant synthesis and repeatability. EO
    strong biocidal (antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant etc.) activities can be explored further,
    with promising applications not only for fresh produce (tomatoes) and fresh-cut salads
    (lettuce, carrots) preservation but also for meat base products i.e. sausages.
    In the pilot study in Cyprus, Sideritis perfoliata decreased plant biomass in deficit
    irrigation and organic cultivation, but increased antioxidants and affected essential oil
    composition. Another outcome is that effective drying temperature for spearmint, thyme and
    Melissa should be less than 42 o C, in order to maintain high quality of dried material and
    essential oil composition.

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