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Title: Improving the quality of cut herbs through optimisation of the growing environment
Author: Cruickshank , Benjamin
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2012
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The use of sustainable growing media in horticultural crop production 10 replace traditional substrates such as peat is now widely accepted throughout the industry. . However, there is a lack of understanding of, and research into, the effects that theses products have on the crops that they are applied to. Recycled household compost. manufactured by local councils from residential garden waste collections through dry anaerobic digestion, is cheap, locally sourced and sustainable. This thesis focuses on the use of this product in the commercial production of culinary herbs and aimed to determine both the physiological effects and influence on their primary quality factor of flavour. The plants were grown In typical commercial conditions; both potted and in protected raised beds with increasing concentrations of RHC material mixed with sandy loam. Initially, fertiliser treatments were also combined with RHC to assess the materials Potential as a method for reducing fertiliser applications In a commercial system. RHC was Found to provide sufficient nutrient levels without the need for fertiliser application. Basic parameters of crop performance and yield were measured in a number of varieties of parsley {Petroselium hortense), , coriander (Coriandrum sativum and basil (Ocimum basilicum ) in order to establish the commercial viability of RHC. Three basil varieties were also subject to gas chromatography mass spectrometry analysis to investigate the precise effects of RHC on their volatile flavour profiles. Descriptive sensory analysis was also used to determine if these changes could be detected by the consumer. The flavour profile of basil was found to be influenced by RHC in some varieties, particularly the sensory characteristics, such as bitterness and sweetness. The effect of temperature and trichomes on the leaves of basil was also investigate ed. Glandular trichomes , particularly peltate trichomes , are believed to be the storage location and site of synthesis of essential oils and are therefore of primary importance to the flavour basil. Basil variety 'Sweet Aroma l' was grown in two temperature treatments, after which their leaves were examined using electron microscopy to determine changes in distribution and total numbers on both the abaxial and adaxial surfaces. Temperature was found to significantly affect trichome numbers and distribution on the leaf surface, particularly the leaf apex.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available