The Journal of Horticultural Science & Biotechnology
Vol. 80 No: 5
Effect of temperature integration on the growth and volatile oil content of basil (Ocimum basilicum L.)
XIANMIN CHANG, PETER G. ALDERSON and CHARLES J. WRIGHT
Sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) is a warm climate plant.The optimum temperature for growth is 25°C and, at this temperature, the volatile oil content of leaves is enhanced. Plants grown at 25°C for 2 weeks were taller and had a higher dry matter content and larger leaves than plants grown at other temperatures.The total volatile oil contents in fresh leaves from plants grown at 25°C or 30°C for 2 weeks were three times the levels found in leaves of plants grown at 15°C. Temperature also affected the composition of the volatile oils. Warm conditions (25°C) resulted in the accumulation of eugenol and cis-ocimene, whereas cooler temperature (15°C) resulted in more camphor and trans-β- farnesene. There was no effect of temperature on the relative contents of 1,8-cineole and linalool. Treatments with alternating temperatures, that supplied the same accumulated Žday-degrees` but with a different sequence of temperatures, did not affect most plant growth parameters. In contrast, volatile oil content and composition were strongly affected by the temperature regime during the final 2 weeks of growth. For example, the higher the temperature before harvesting, the higher the volatile oil content and the greater the relative content of eugenol.
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