Salinity alters curcumin, essential oil and chlorophyll of turmeric (Curcuma longa L.)

A Mostajeran, A Gholaminejad, G Asghari

Abstract


Turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) is a perennial rhizomatous plant from the family of Zingibraceae, native in South Asia. The main components of turmeric are curcuminoids and essential oil which are responsible for turmeric characteristic such as odor and taste. Due to the large areas of saline land in Iran and less information related to cultivation of turmeric, in this research, the effect of salinity on growth, curcumin and essential oil of turmeric was evaluated. Rhizomes were planted in coco peat and perlite for germination. Then uniform germinated rhizomes transferred to hydroponic condition containing Hoagland's solution. Two months old plants were exposed to salinity (0, 20, 60 and 100 mM NaCl) for two months via hydroponic media using Hoagland’s solution. Then dry weight of different plant parts, chlorophyll, curcumin and essential oil components of turmeric were determined. The result indicated that, dry weight reductions in 100 mM NaCl were 191%, 141%, 56%, 30% in leaf, pseudo-stem, root and rhizome, respectively (This is almost equal to 6.9, 2.87, 0.34 and 0.23 mg plant-1 mM-1NaCl reduction of dry weight, respectively). The reductions in chlorophyll a and b are almost 3.32 and 0.79 µg/gFW respectively due to one unit addition of NaCl (P < 0.05). The addition of curcumin of rhizome for four months old plant versus three months were almost 5 fold for 0 mM NaCl and 2 fold for 100 mM NaCl due to one month of delay in harvest. Low salinity has positive effect in curcumin production but higher salinity (higher than 60 mM) had adverse effect and causes 24% reduction of curcumin compared to control plants. There were more para-cymene and terpineol in volatile oils of turmeric rhizome than the other components, most of the volatile oil compounds were unchanged or varied slightly as salinity changed.


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