Influence of cultivar and maturity at harvest on the essential oil composition, oleoresin and [6]-gingerol contents in fresh ginger from northeast India

Challa Ravi Kiran, Ashok Kumar Chakka, K P Padmakumari Amma, A Nirmala Menon, M M Sree Kumar, V V Venugopalan
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2013 May 1, 61 (17): 4145-54
Severe flooding of the Brahmaputra River during the monsoon season and continuous rainfall in the northeast region (NER) of India cause an enormous loss of ginger crop every year. In this context, the present study investigates the variation in the essential oil composition and oleoresin and [6]-gingerol contents in 10 different fresh ginger cultivars harvested at 6- and 9-month maturity from five different states of NER. Monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and citral composition in the essential oil were evaluated to ascertain their dependence upon the maturity of ginger. Except Mizoram Thinglaidum, Mizoram Thingria, Nagaland Nadia, and Tripura I ginger cultivars, all other cultivars showed an increase in the citral content during the maturity that was observed for the first time. At 6-month maturity, a higher undecanone level was found in Nagaland Nadia (7.36 ± 0.61%), Tripura I (6.23 ± 0.61%), and Tripura III (9.17 ± 0.76%) cultivars, and these data can be used as a benchmark to identify those immature varieties. Interestingly, the Nagaland Nadia cultivar showed higher ar-curcumene (9.57 ± 0.58%) content than zingiberene (5.84 ± 0.24%), which was unique among all cultivars. Ginger harvested at 9-month maturity from the Tripura II cultivar had the highest citral content (22.03 ± 0.49%), and the Meghalaya Mahima cultivar had the highest zingiberene content (29.89 ± 2.92%). The oleoresin content was found to decrease with maturity in all cultivars, except Assam Fibreless and Manipur I. Moreover, the highest oleoresin (11.43 ± 0.58 and 9.42 ± 0.63%) and [6]-gingerol (1.67 ± 0.03 and 1.67 ± 0.05 g) contents were observed for Tripura II and Nagaland Nadia, respectively. This study suggests that Tripura and Nagaland are the most ideal locations in NER for ginger cultivation to obtain high yields of oleoresin and [6]-gingerol contents and harvesting at the 6-month maturation will compensate for the loss of ginger crop caused by the Brahmaputra River flooding in NER every year.

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