Green Manure Boosts Oregano Growth and Oil Quality

Jenn Hoskins
11th April, 2024

Green Manure Boosts Oregano Growth and Oil Quality

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In Brazil, green manure increased oregano's biomass and essential oil content
  • Specific health-beneficial compounds in oregano's oils were boosted by green manure
  • Using green manure is an eco-friendly way to enhance oregano cultivation
In the realm of agriculture and plant cultivation, the use of green manure (GM) is gaining traction as a sustainable alternative to chemical fertilizers, particularly in the growth of medicinal plants. Researchers at the Universidade Federal de Lavras have taken a closer look at the effects of GM on the cultivation of Origanum vulgare, commonly known as oregano, a plant prized for its culinary, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic applications[1]. The study's goal was to assess how different amounts of GM influence the plant's biomass, essential oil content, phenolics, and antioxidant properties. Oregano's essential oils and phenolic compounds are responsible for its flavor, aroma, and health benefits. Earlier studies have shown that the extraction methods and soil conditions significantly affect the concentration of these bioactive compounds in oregano[2][3]. Furthermore, the chemical composition of oregano's essential oils varies depending on the plant's wild population, which has implications for its potential uses[4]. With this in mind, the new study expands on these findings by exploring how GM can enhance the production of these valuable compounds. The experiment set up by the researchers involved using Crotalaria juncea as the GM due to its adaptability to various climates and high nitrogen content. They compared the effects of GM at different quantities (150, 300, 450, and 600 grams of leaves and stems plus 200 grams of roots) and a control group with no GM. Additionally, they included a comparison with soil enriched with 300 grams of cattle manure per pot. After 90 days, the findings revealed that the highest dry weights of oregano plants were observed when GM or cattle manure was used, with the 450 grams GM (leaves, stems, and roots) showing the most significant increase. In comparison to the control group, essential oil production was 75% higher in the GM-enhanced plants. The researchers utilized a statistical method called principal component analysis to determine that both GM and cattle manure positively affected the dry weight, content, yield, and constituents of the essential oils, as well as the total flavonoids. One of the most interesting outcomes of the study was the increased accumulation of specific compounds in the essential oils, such as trans-sabinene hydrate, thymol, and terpinen-4-ol, due to GM application. These compounds are notable for their health benefits, including antimicrobial properties[5]. The presence of terpinen-4-ol, for instance, has been demonstrated to have antibacterial and antibiofilm activities against Staphylococcus aureus, a common and problematic pathogen[5]. The implications of this research are substantial. By utilizing GM in the cultivation of oregano, farmers can potentially boost the production of the plant's biomass and the concentration of active components that make oregano valuable. This is not only beneficial for the quality and efficacy of oregano-based products but also for the environment, as it reduces the reliance on chemical fertilizers. The study from the Universidade Federal de Lavras provides concrete evidence that integrating green manure into oregano cultivation is an effective and eco-friendly strategy. It ties together previous findings on the importance of soil conditions and extraction methods for maximizing the beneficial compounds in oregano[2][3], and the variability of chemical compositions in wild oregano populations[4], by demonstrating that soil enrichment through GM can be an additional, crucial factor in optimizing oregano's medicinal potential. This research offers a promising avenue for the commercial cultivation of oregano, opening the door to more sustainable and productive agricultural practices.

AgriculturePlant ScienceSpices


Main Study

1) Green manure (Crotalaria juncea L.) enhances Origanum vulgare L. biomass accumulation, essential oil yield, and phytochemical properties.

Published 10th April, 2024

Related Studies

2) Optimization of carvacrol, rosmarinic, oleanolic and ursolic acid extraction from oregano herbs (Origanum onites L., Origanum vulgare spp. hirtum and Origanum vulgare L.).

3) Dependence of the Concentration of Bioactive Compounds in Origanum vulgare on Chemical Properties of the Soil.

4) Essential oil diversity of Origanum vulgare L. populations from Southern Italy.

5) Terpinen-4-ol as an Antibacterial and Antibiofilm Agent against Staphylococcus aureus.

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