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Open access

Katarzyna Bączek, Ewelina Pióro-Jabrucka, Anna Pawełczak and Zenon Węglarz

Summary

Introduction: Southern sweet-grass (Hierochloë australis /Schrad./ Roem. et Schult., Poaceae) is a perennial tuft-grass occurring in North-Eastern part of Europe. Its leaves are collected from wild growing plants as an aromatic raw material used in alcohol industry. Due to overharvest, attempts to introduce the plant into cultivation have been undertaken.

Objective: This work aims to assess the influence of southern sweet-grass seeds (spikelets) storage and pre-sowing treatment on their germination and the initial growth of seedlings.

Methods: The seeds were assessed directly after harvest and after 6, 18 and 30 months of storage. The investigated parameters, i.e. 1000 seed weight, moisture content, germinability and viability of seeds (tetrazoline test) were determined according to ISTA.

Results: After 30 months of storage, the germinability of seeds decreased from 42.6 (after harvest) to 4.6% but their viability remained high (70.9%). Stratification, short rinse of stratified seed in H2SO4 and application of KNO3 or GA3 had increased the seeds germination (over 70%).

Conclusion: Southern sweet-grass seeds become dormant shortly after maturing. The improvement of germination requires the application of combined treatments, i.e. stratification, scarification and growth-promoting substances.

Open access

Katarzyna Bączek, Olga Kosakowska, Jarosław L. Przybył and Zenon Węglarz

Summary

Introduction: Purple betony (Stachys officinalis L., Lamiaceae) is a perennial of versatile medicinal usage. Nowadays, in Poland betony herb is collected exclusively from wild growing plants. Decreasing number of its natural sites results in lack of the herb supply and thus, in its limited usage.

Objective: The aim of the study was to determine the effects of the age of plant and term of raw material harvest on its yield and quality in cultivation conditions.

Methods: The observations were carried out on 2- and 3-year-old plants. During vegetation the herb was collected for four times. The raw material was subjected to chemical analysis. Tannins (as pyrogallol equivalent) were determined according to Polish Pharmacopoeia, phenolic acids and flavonoids – by HPLC.

Results: The mass of herb, both in the second and third year, had increased from the beginning of vegetation up to seed setting. The highest content of tannins was found in the herb collected at the vegetative stage of plant development (2.05% in the second and 2.91% in the third year). Four phenolic acids (chlorogenic, ferulic, caffeic and rosmarinic acids) and five flavonoid compounds (orientin, luteolin-7-glucoside, apigenin-7-glucoside, apigenin-3-glucoside, apigenin) were identified in the obtained raw materials. In these groups, the dominant compounds were caffeic acid and apigenin. The highest content of caffeic acid was found at the beginning of plant vegetation, whereas apigenin – at the stage of full blooming and seed setting.

Conclusion: In cultivation conditions, purple betony produces high mass of herb which may be used as a valuable raw material in herbal industry.

Open access

Olga Kosakowska, Katarzyna Bączek, Jarosław L. Przybył, Ewelina Pióro-Jabrucka and Zenon Węglarz

Summary

Introduction. In the group of plants revealing adaptogenic activity, species belonging to Scutellaria genus are considered to be the most important ones. Common skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata L.) is less known species from this genus, growing wild in Poland in wet habitats. Its herb has been used in the past as a sedative and diuretic agent.

Objective. The aim of the study was to determine the variability of common skullcap in terms of the accumulation of flavonoids in the herb.

Methods. The objects of the study were 17 common skullcap populations growing wild in eastern Poland. At each natural site, the list of main flowering plant species was carried out, according to Braun-Blanquet scale of plant abundance. The total content of flavonoids was determined according to EP 8th. The analysis of flavonoids was carried out using HPLC, Shimadzu chromatograph.

Results. The total content of flavonoids ranged from 0.21 to 0.50% dry matter (DM). Using HPLC, eight compounds were identified within the group, with chrysin-7-O-glucuronide (30.91–589.27 mg × 100 g−1 DM), baicalin (61.90–482.93 mg × 100 g−1 DM) and scutellarin (43.77–213.54 mg × 100 g−1 DM) as dominants. Chrysin was the compound which in the highest degree differentiated investigated populations (CV=0.77).

Conclusion. Obtained results indicate that investigated common skullcap populations differed in terms of the total content of flavonoids as well as the content of indentified flavonoids in the herb. However, there was no clear relationship between geographical localization of populations and the content of identified flavonoids in raw material.

Open access

Katarzyna Bączek, Izabela Szymborska-Sandhu, Anna Pawełczak and Zenon Węglarz

Summary

An efficient method for in vitro propagation of bastard balm by enhanced axillary shoot branching has been developed. The material to establish in vitro culture was shoot tips collected from three-year-old plants in May. The shoots obtained from initial explants were placed on MS/B5 medium containing 0.1, 0.5 or 1.0 mg/l BA with 0.01 mg/l NAA or without the auxin. The highest number of shoots per explant was obtained on the medium with 1.0 mg/l BA (3.9 shoots per explant). For the rooting of shoots ½ MS/B5 with IBA (0.25, 0.50 and 1.0 mg/l) medium was used. The medium without plant growth regulators served as a control. The best root regeneration was observed on the medium without IBA (87.1% of cuttings rooted). IBA used in the medium for shoot rooting affected the morphological traits of obtained microcuttings but not affected their weight. Irrespective of auxin concentration in this medium, obtained microcuttings acclimated in ex vitro conditions very well.

Open access

Katarzyna Bączek, Mirosław Angielczyk, Kamila Mosakowska, Olga Kosakowska and Zenon Węglarz

Summary

Southern sweet-grass (Hierochloë australis /Schrad./ Roem. & Schult.) is a perennial, wild growing tuft grass occurring in North-East Poland, Belarus and Finland. In Poland the species is under the partial legal protection. The raw material harvested from this plant are leaves rich in coumarins, mainly in coumarin responsible for specific sweet aroma of leaves. They are used mostly for the aromatization of alcohol and tobacco products. Due to high demand for the raw material and decrease in the natural resources of the species, it is advisable to introduce the plant into cultivation. In the presented study vegetative planting stock (1-, 2-, and 4-stem cuttings) were used to set the plantation of southern sweet-grass. The influence of the planting stock type on the mass of leaves and their quality in the first and second year of plant vegetation as well as the mass of seeds from two-year-old plants were investigated. The highest number of well rooted plants was obtained from 4-stem cuttings (74.07%) and the least - from 1-stem cuttings (47.53%). Both, on one- and two-year-old plantations the plants from 4-stem cuttings were characterized by the highest mass of leaves (7.73 and 24.65 g ˟ plant-1, respectively). The plants were also characterized by the highest number of generative shoots (40.71 pcs. ˟ plant-1) and mass of seeds (4.62 g ˟ plant-1). The total contents of coumarins and phenolic acids did not depend on the type of planting stock. The contents of these compounds was higher in two-year-old plants than in one-year-old ones, whereas the content of flavonoids was higher in one-year-old plants.

Open access

Marek Gajewski, Zenon Węglarz, Anna Sereda, Marta Bajer, Agnieszka Kuczkowska and Michał Majewski

Quality of Carrots Grown for Processing as Affected by Nitrogen Fertilization and Harvest Term

In 2007-2008 the effect of nitrogen fertilization and harvest term on quality of two carrot cultivars was investigated. The field experiment was carried out in Żelazna Experimental Station of Warsaw University of Life Sciences. Karotan F1 and Trafford F1 cultivars, commonly grown for juice industry, were the objects of the experiment. Carrot seeds were sown at the beginning of May. Nitrogen fertilization was applied in five rates, ranged from 0 to 120 kg·ha-1 and in two terms — before sowing and in the middle of growing season. Roots were harvested in three terms: mid-September, mid-October and the first decade of November. After harvest there were determined: nitrates (NO3) content in carrot roots and juice, soluble solids, colour parameters of juice in CIE L*a*b* system. The dose and the term of nitrogen fertilization influenced nitrates content in carrots, and the highest NO3 concentration was found in carrots fertilized with 120 kg·ha-1 of N before sowing. Karotan showed higher nitrates accumulation than Trafford. The content of nitrates in the roots was markedly higher than in carrot juice. Nitrates content in carrots decreased with delaying of harvest time, in opposite to soluble solids content. Soluble solids content and colour parameters of carrot juice were not affected by nitrogen fertilization, but the lowest L*, a* and b* values were observed at the last term of harvest.

Open access

Katarzyna Bączek, Olga Kosakowska, Jarosław L. Przybył, Paula Kuźma, Marcin Ejdys, Mieczysław Obiedziński and Zenon Węglarz

Summary

The aim of study was to determine the variability of 20 yarrow populations introduced into ex situ conditions, in respect of selected developmental traits as well as content and composition of biologically active compounds (essential oil, tannins, flavonoids and phenolic acids). Field experiment was established at the Experimental Station, Department of Vegetable and Medicinal Plants. Morphological observations and harvest of raw material were carried out in the second year of plant vegetation, at the beginning of blooming. Investigated populations differed significantly in respect of developmental features as well as content and composition of identified compounds. The highest differences among the populations concerned fresh mass of herb (0.46–1.79 kg per plant), number of shoots per m2 (64–243) and length of the longest internode (42–158 mm). Total content of essential oil ranged from 0.10 to 1.00%. Among 24 identified compounds β-pinene, 1,8-cineole, terpinene-4-ol, nerolidol and chamazulene were the dominants. According to content of these compounds, three chemotypes were distinguished within investigated populations, i.e.: β-pinene, β-pinene + chamazulene and 1,8-cineole type. Content of tannins ranged from 0.38 to 0.90%. Four flavonoids were identified and apigenin 7-glucoside was present in the highest amount (from 9.87 to 475.21 mg × 100 g−1), while the highest differences between populations concerned the content of luteolin-3',7-diglucoside. Within phenolic acids, three compounds (caffeic acid derivatives) were identified. Rosmarinic acid was the dominant one (75.64–660.54 mg × 100 g−1), while cichoric acid differentiated investigated populations the most.

Open access

Katarzyna Bączek, Mirosław Angielczyk, Jarosław L. Przybył, Marcin Ejdys, Anna Geszprych and Zenon Węglarz

Summary

Southern sweet-grass (Hierochloë australis /Schrad./ Roem. & Schult., Poaceae), commonly known as a bison grass, is a perennial tuft grass rarely occurring in mixed forests in Eastern and Northern Europe. The raw material collected from this plant are leaves rich in coumarin compounds (especially coumarin) responsible for sweet, specific aroma of these organs. In Poland, southern sweet-grass leaves are used mainly for alcohol products aromatisation. Growing demand for the raw material results in uncontrolled and excessive collecting of this plant. The best way to solve this problem is to introduce this plant into cultivation. Since southern sweet-grass is allogamous and heterozigotic, strong intraspecific variability of the species is observed. Fourteen clones of selected individuals from one population of southern sweet-grass naturally occurring in East Poland were compared in respect of morphological traits as well as accumulation of biologically active compounds. The clones differed significantly in the weight of leaves (3.76-22.59 g of air-dry weight per plant). The total coumarin content (determined by a spectrophotometric method) in this raw material for investigated clones ranged from 1.49 to 1.94%, flavonoids - from 0.25 to 0.55%, and phenolic acids - from 0.20 to 0.42%. Three coumarin compounds were identified by HPLC, namely coumarin, 3,4-dihydrocoumarin, and o-coumaric acid. The content of coumarin ranged from 84.00 to 310.85, 3,4-dihydrocoumarin: from 17.80 to 168.45, and o-coumaric acid: from 37.50 to 70.00 mg · 100 g-1 dry matter.

Open access

Katarzyna Bączek, Mirosław Angielczyk, Jarosław L. Przybył, Olga Kosakowska, Marcin Ejdys and Zenon Węglarz

Summary

Southern sweet-grass is a perennial grass distributed through north-eastern Europe. In Poland, this rare, partially protected plant grows wild in well-lit coniferous or mixed forests. Its leaves, rich in coumarin compounds, are used for aromatization of alcohols. Taking into account high demand on this raw material and decrease in the number of southern sweet-grass populations it is recommended to introduce the plant into cultivation systems. In this study 12 populations of southern sweet-grass were selected and assessed in terms of their cultivation usefulness. The presence of associated plant species growing on its natural sites was investigated as well as light irradiance on those stands. The species was found in 3 types of forest communities. Air dry mass of leaves per plant varied in analyzed populations from 1.73 to 11.07 g. They were significantly diversified in the total content of coumarins (0.36–0.96%), flavonoids (0.09–0.26%) and polyphenolic acids (0.13–0.29%). The diversity concerning the content of coumarin, a quality indicator of leaves, was even higher. The content of this compound varied from 52.03 to 275.74 mg/100 g d. m. Among the analyzed populations, the most interesting seem to be population No. 12 (Jedwabno) and population No. 10 (Ruciane) characterized with relatively high mass of leaves and the highest content of the identified active compounds, including coumarin.