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Scientia Horticulturae

The potential of the tropical Moringa oleifera Lam. and its desert relative Moringa peregrina(Forssk.) Fiori as edible seed-oil and seed-protein crops under Mediterranean conditions was evaluated. Initially, we developed a NIRS (Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy) method for the analysis of seed weight, and seed-oil and protein contents. We found NIRS to be a relatively accurate method for estimating seed traits of both Moringa species.

Comparative analysis of bloom phenology and reproductive success between M. oleiferaand M. peregrina, grown under Mediterranean conditions, revealed for M. oleifera a shorter juvenility period and a lower variation in bloom and reproductive traits. Both species bloomed in summer and set fruits in autumn. M. peregrina also bloomed in late autumn and set fruits in spring the following year. Annually, M. oleifera trees produced significantly more flowers and set more fruits. Fruit-set for both species was extremely low (0.5–1.5%). M. oleifera pods were 45% longer, contained 23% more seeds that were 47% lighter with 11% lower oil concentration compared with M. peregrina, resulting in approximately six-fold higher oil and protein yields per plant.

In conclusion, M. oleifera was better suited for oil and protein production under Mediterranean conditions as it produced more seeds and in a more predictable and uniform manner. However, since M. peregrina produced larger seeds with higher oil concentrations and was less susceptible to local diseases, future breeding efforts should be concentrated on producing interspecies hybrids resulting in elevated oil production and reduced susceptibility to diseases.

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The potential of the tropical “miracle tree” Moringa oleifera and its desert relative Moringa peregrina as edible seed-oil and protein crops under Mediterranean conditions
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The potential of the tropical “miracle tree” Moringa oleifera and its desert relative Moringa peregrina as edible seed-oil and protein crops under Mediterranean conditions .

The potential of the tropical Moringa oleifera Lam. and its desert relative Moringa peregrina(Forssk.) Fiori as edible seed-oil and seed-protein crops under Mediterranean conditions was evaluated. Initially, we developed a NIRS (Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy) method for the analysis of seed weight, and seed-oil and protein contents. We found NIRS to be a relatively accurate method for estimating seed traits of both Moringa species.

Comparative analysis of bloom phenology and reproductive success between M. oleiferaand M. peregrina, grown under Mediterranean conditions, revealed for M. oleifera a shorter juvenility period and a lower variation in bloom and reproductive traits. Both species bloomed in summer and set fruits in autumn. M. peregrina also bloomed in late autumn and set fruits in spring the following year. Annually, M. oleifera trees produced significantly more flowers and set more fruits. Fruit-set for both species was extremely low (0.5–1.5%). M. oleifera pods were 45% longer, contained 23% more seeds that were 47% lighter with 11% lower oil concentration compared with M. peregrina, resulting in approximately six-fold higher oil and protein yields per plant.

In conclusion, M. oleifera was better suited for oil and protein production under Mediterranean conditions as it produced more seeds and in a more predictable and uniform manner. However, since M. peregrina produced larger seeds with higher oil concentrations and was less susceptible to local diseases, future breeding efforts should be concentrated on producing interspecies hybrids resulting in elevated oil production and reduced susceptibility to diseases.

Scientific Publication
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