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Effects of pre-harvest soil management practices and post- harvest processing on phytochemical qualities of turmeric (Curcuma longa)

Effects of pre-harvest soil management practices and post- harvest processing on phytochemical qualities of turmeric (Curcuma longa)

Indian Journal of Agricultural Sciences 87(8): 1002-1007

Phytochemicals from turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) have a plethora of beneficial, including medicinal uses. To increase their dietary intake, besides minimizing processing losses, exploring pre-harvest soil managements to increase their content naturally may be a suitable option. We made an attempt to assess the effect of pre-harvest soil management by either organic manuring or inorganic fertilization with or without agricultural liming and post-harvest processing through curing followed by drying at 60 +/- 2 degrees C on phytochemical properties of turmeric cultivar Meghaturmeric 1 grown in the acid soils of sub-tropical climate of northeast India. Pre-harvest management of soils significantly (P <= 0.001) influenced the phytochemical concentration of turmeric rhizomes. Curcumin concentration in fresh mother rhizome was 15-38% higher than the fresh finger rhizomes. Similarly, fresh mother rhizomes had 21-22% more beta-carotene and 7-9% more anti-oxidants than the fingers. Post-harvest processing of fresh rhizomes (mother and fingers) to yield dry powder resulted in significant reduction of curcumin (by 2.0-8.0%), beta carotene (by 8-28%) and anti-oxidant (by 43-64%) concentrations. Pre-harvest soil managements by poultry manuring with liming considerably increased the phytochemical concentrations in the turmeric rhizomes.

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