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Vertical fiber cables anchored in horizontal diaphragms traverse the air-filled lacunae of the tall, upright, spiraling leaf blades of Typha domingensis, T. angustifolia, T. latifolia and T. × glauca. The fiber cables may make a mechanical contribution to leaf blade stiffness while allowing flexibility under windy conditions. We examined the very tall, upright, spiraling leaf blades of T. elephantina, which can be over 4 m long, for fiber cables. In the tall species of Typha, there are two alternative architectures for upright leaf blades. T. domingensis utilizes fiber cables to enhance stiffness in the tall, upright concavo-convex leaf blades, whereas T. elephantina may maintain their tall stature in the absence of fiber cables by having a different cross-sectional geometry. These alternative architectures can be used as a diagnostic character along with other morphological characters to assess phylogenetic affinity in Typha. The very tall T. elephantina which lacks fiber cables may be more closely related to the much shorter T. minima, which also has no cables, than to the tall T. domingensis and T. angustifolia, both of which have prominent fiber cables. T. elephantina and T. minima share other morphological characters as well.

In: Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

Wild populations of Croatian clary sage (Salvia sclarea L.) were examined for variability to determine cultivation suitability in Croatia and Israel for breeding purposes. Phenotypic variability (coefficient of variation; %) was recorded for inflorescence weight (39.6%), inflorescence yield (52.8%), and essential oil yield (67.6%) when grown in Croatia. Associations were identified between inflorescence yield and essential oil yield (r = 0.9; P < 0.0001), inflorescence weight and inflorescence yield (r = 0.8; P < 0.0001), and inflorescence weight and inflorescence length (r = 0.6; P = 0.0056), suggesting that populations with elongated inflorescence are indirectly associated with higher essential oil yield. In Israel, the populations reached full bloom between the end of May and early June, corresponding on average to 397.5 days post planting. Linalyl acetate, linalool, α–terpineol, sclareol, and geranyl acetate were the leading essential oil components in both Croatia and Israel. The principal compounds in the oil were linalyl acetate (48.5%) and linalool (17.7%), signifying that the Croatian populations were of the linalool chemotype. A two-way ANOVA indicated an interaction between growing location (Croatia vs. Israel) and population for linalool (P = 0.02), α–terpineol (P = 0.007), and linalyl acetate (P = 0.09); evidence of an environmental effect on essential oil composition. The variation observed suggested that the wild population of clary sage in Croatia had the genetic heterogeneity essential for breeding. Nevertheless, the differences in essential oil composition between Croatia and Israel suggest that breeding efforts should be separately focused for each agriculture production system.

In: Israel Journal of Plant Sciences
In: Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

In 1938 a new species, M andragora turcomanica O. Mizgir., was discovered in the Sumbar river valley near the Soviet–Iranian border in the nowadays Republic of Turkmenistan. The prevailing hypothesis of its origin was that M. turcomanica is a species that survived in a refuge between the Mediterranean and Himalayan parts of the now disjunct genus range. Meteorological observation conducted by the author in the area occupied by the species revealed that the presumed high frost tolerance of the species was exaggerated. The plants of the Sumbar Valley could survive only in a narrow altitude belt due a very specific combination of favorable microclimate and soil. However, the present distribution of mandrake plants in Turkmenistan cannot explain why the plants were never observed in the southern valleys of the Turkmen–Khorasan range of northern Iran, which has a similar landscape to the Sumbar Valley and a considerably warmer climate. Cultivation and usage of the Turkmenian mandrake as a medicinal plant in Iran, its name “halom” and the fact that all known locations of Turkmenian mandrake match the traces of ancient irrigation in the Sumbar Valley support the hypothesis that Turkmenian mandrake could be the holy plant the ancient Iranians called “Haoma”, repeatedly mentioned in the “Avesta” (the collection of sacred texts of the ancient Aryan religion known as Zoroastrianism). The introduction of mandrake currently growing in Sumbar Valley from the other region is supported by the species biology, i.e. the lack of dispersal of its fruits by birds which strongly limits its potential distribution, and by a recently reported high genetic similarity of Turkmenian mandrake with plants from Israel.

In: Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

Erythrina variegata L. is an important medicinal plant used in the preparations of Ayurvedic formulations used against several ailments. This study was carried out to investigate the presence of secondary metabolites using phytochemical screening, high-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC) fingerprinting analysis and the antioxidant potential of the aqueous bark extract of E. variegata L. The secondary metabolites and the free radical scavenging activity were analyzed using standard protocols. The results obtained in the present study revealed that E. variegata has high antioxidant activity against free radicals based on phytoconstituents.

In: Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

The demand for organic food products has increased over the last decades; however, the health effects of organically grown products are controversial and knowledge about how different fertilization regimes affect nutritionally and health relevant components is still limited. The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of organic and conventional mineral-based fertilizers on the quality of sweet red peppers. The parameters tested were anti-proliferative activity against cancer cells and the concentrations of antioxidants, flavonoids, phenolics, and vitamin C. The decay incidence, percentage of weight loss, and total soluble solids (TSS) content were also evaluated. The different parameters were tested in fresh peppers immediately after harvest and after cold storage. Our results show that the anti-proliferative activity of pepper extracts against colon cancer cells is similar in fresh organically and conventionally fertilized sweet red peppers. While in conventionally fertilized peppers the extent of the anti-proliferative activity was not affected by long storage, stored organic peppers lost 50% of their inhibitory activity. We also found that the levels of antioxidants, polyphenols, flavonoids, and vitamin C, as well as the general quality of the peppers were not significantly affected by the different fertilization practices nor by long storage.

In: Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

Cannabis, both herbal and resin, has been the most popular illicit drug in Israel in recent years. Until 2005, the main sources of cannabis resin (known also as hashish) to the Israeli drug market were Lebanon and India. Hashish from these sources can be distinguished by its external appearance. The aim of this study was to determine if there is any difference in the quality of the hashish from each source. For this purpose, we quantified the main cannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD), Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), and cannabinol (CBN) of hashish from different police seizures of known origins, Lebanon, India and Morocco, that had been submitted to the Analytical Chemistry Laboratory of the Division of Identification and Forensic Science at the Israeli National Police Headquarters and subsequently to the Hebrew University for quantitative analysis. The results, based on many different seizures, showed that the average CBD content of hashish from Lebanon varied from 5.69% to 12.79% (an average 8.98 ± 0.59%), THC of hashish from Lebanon varied from 0.93% to 4.20% (an average of 2.38 ± 0.27 %), CBD of hashish from Morocco varied from 1.52% to 5.14% (an average of 3.72 ± 0.19%), THC of hashish from Morocco varied from 5.08% to 13.41% (an average of 9.21 ± 0.40%), CBD of hashish from India varied from 0.78% to 13.13% (an average of 4.59 ± 1.07%), and THC of hashish from India varied from 0.53% to 16.45% (an average of 6.35 ± 1.50%), At the same time, several other cannabinoids present in the samples in lower amounts were identified (cannabidivarol, CBDV; cannabicitran; Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarol, Δ9-THCV; cannabivarol, CBV; cannabicyclol, CBL; cannabichromene, CBC; cannabielsoin, CBE; Δ8-THC; and cannabigerol, CBG). The samples, predominantly from Lebanon, Morocco, and India, were evaluated for chemical phenotype (drug type and fiber type) to determine the geographical origin of these samples.

Indian hashish, seized by Czech Republic authorities, was analyzed qualitatively for many cannabinoids and terpenes. In this sample three new cannabinoids were identified: cannabiorcochromene, cis9-tetrahydrocannabivarol, and cannabinerol.

In: Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

Legume–microbial interactions focus mainly on Rhizobium. The present study aimed to evaluate the plant growth-promoting (PGP) potential of bacterial and cyanobacterial formulations and variety-specific differences following their inoculation in two varieties of pea (Pisum sativum L.), namely Arkel and GP-17. Providencia sp. PW5–Anabaena laxa CW1 treatment was the most promising, with an 11%–76% increase in defense enzyme activity in both varieties. Interestingly, Arkel responded better in terms of nitrogenase activity, which was enhanced several-fold in the inoculated treatments, and exhibited a significant correlation (r = 0.787, 0.778, 0.755; p < 0.05) with shoot length, fresh weight and nodule number per plant, respectively. Nodule number was significantly correlated (r = 0.74, 0.81; p < 0.05) with PAL and PPO activity, respectively, and with microbial biomass carbon, alkaline phosphatase and dehydrogenase activity (r = 0.582, 0.538, 0.666; p < 0.05), respectively. Variety GP-17, however, responded better in terms of increasing the polysaccharide and glomalin content of soil. This study reveals the promise of co-inoculation of PGPRs (plant growth-promoting Rhizobacteria) as synergistic partners for improving plant growth mobilization of major nutrients in pea. However, there is a need to study root exudate patterns to identify promising microbe–variety combinations.

In: Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

The present study was conducted to determine the morphogenetic and phenologic variations in the content of the main bioactive compounds in Hypericum leptophyllum Hochst., an endemic species from Turkish flora. Wild plants were harvested at five phenological stages: vegetative, floral budding, full flowering, fresh fruiting, and mature fruiting, and assayed for chemical content by HPLC. Results indicated that H. leptophyllum did not accumulate hypericin, pseudohypericin, hyperforin, and adhyperforin. The phenolic content in whole plants increased generally during plant phenology and higher accumulation levels were observed at flowering. Among the reproductive organs, amentoflavone, quercetin, avicularin, and hyperoside contents were the highest in floral buds (2.09, 2.18, 0.55, and 2.62 mg g−1 dry mass (DM), respectively). Leaves harvested at the floral budding stage produced the highest content of chlorogenic acid, neochlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, and isoquercetin (53.32, 6.25, 0.03, and 1.91 mg g−1 DM, respectively), while leaves of plants at the vegetative stage of plant development accumulated the highest content of 2,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid and quercitrin (0.29 and 0.54 mg g–1 DM, respectively). This is the first report of the presence of avicularin, rutin, (+)-catechin, (–)-epicatechin, amentoflavone, caffeic acid, neochlorogenic acid, and 2,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid in this species. Such data could be useful for the evaluation of new sources of bioactive compounds, as well as for increasing phytotaxonomic knowledge for the poorly studied Hypericum species.

In: Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

The solution of the global food crisis and improvement of the food security situation may be reached by increasing food production and prevention of losses during the food supplying chain. Most of the scientific efforts so far have aimed to increase the yield of agricultural crops. However, food losses during storage and the supply chain may reach levels of 20–40%. One of the most significant factors responsible for the global food crisis is grain losses during storage that are largely caused by pest insects. Today, there are two main chemical methods used for stored product insect pest control: fumigation and grain protection by contact insecticides. For both these methods phyto-sanitarian, health, and ecological disadvantages are well documented. Therefore, the global current tendency is to prevent/decrease the common wide use of chemical insecticides with high toxicity to humans for pest control in foods. Thus, there is an urgent need for the development of alternative eco-friendly approaches for insect pest control in order to prevent grain quantity losses and the quality degradation of stored grain and dry food caused by insect pests. In this article, we propose an integrated protection approach which includes prevention measures, systematic inspection and monitoring for grain storage risk factors; use of eco-friendly protectants and volatiles; and improved technologies for currently used fumigants. Implementation of this approach in Israel resulted in a dramatic reduction in grain losses to less than 0.5%.

In: Israel Journal of Plant Sciences