Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 97-102

Evaluation of the productivity of Cyperus esculentus L. cultivated in different phytogeographical locations in Egypt (ex-situ conservation) and its anti-oxidant activity


1 Department of Chemistry of Medicinal Plants, National Research Centre, Giza, Egypt
2 Department of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Research, National Research Centre, Giza, Egypt

Date of Submission08-Sep-2019
Date of Decision30-Nov-2018
Date of Acceptance01-Dec-2019
Date of Web Publication30-Jun-2020

Correspondence Address:
Khaled A Shams
Department of Chemistry of Medicinal Plants, National Research Centre, 33 El Bohouth Street (former El Tahrir Street), Dokki, Giza 12622
Egypt
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/epj.epj_45_19

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  Abstract 

Background and objectives The conservation and management of threatened and endangered species is a tremendous challenge that must be addressed to achieve the goal of halting the loss of plant biodiversity. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Cyperus esculentus lies in the least concern category. This means that it has been evaluated against the Red List criteria and does not qualify for critically endangered, vulnerable, or near threatened. In Egypt, the people depend mainly on the wild growing tubers, whereas the area of land cultivated with tiger nut is becoming very small. This is highly affecting the population of the plant and explains the need to introduce its cultivation in different phytogeographical regions of Egypt.
Materials and methods Tubers of C. esculentus were obtained from Wady Elsheh Farm, Assuit Governorate, Egypt, and were cultivated in four different locations during two planting periods. Physical and chemical properties of the soils were determined. In addition, water used for irrigation was analyzed. Moreover, growth and yield parameters were recorded. The 80% methanol extract of powdered tubers was prepared using the ultrasound-assisted extraction, and the antioxidant activity was determined using the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical scavenging assay.
Results and conclusion The obtained results showed that soil type and water used for irrigation had a significant effect on plant growth, that is, plant height and fresh and dry weight of herb during the two seasons. Moreover, the four extracts of samples obtained from the four locations exerted remarkable antioxidant activity (83.4, 92.4, 90.7, and 65.1%, respectively), which could be attributed to high flavonoids content of the tubers. The soil and water for irrigation at Wadi Elsaeida, Aswan Governorate, and El-Bahrya Oasis are more suitable for the production of C. esculentus tubers.

Keywords: antioxidant, Cyperus esculentus, conservation, Cyperaceae, 2, 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl, endangered species, Hab El-Aziz, phytogeographical regions, tiger nuts


How to cite this article:
Hammouda FM, Abdel-Azim NS, Shams KA, Hindawy SF, Hassanein HM, Ibrahim AY, Mohamed TA, Saleh IA, El-Missiry MM, El-Gendy ANG, Abdalla WE, Ibrahim AE. Evaluation of the productivity of Cyperus esculentus L. cultivated in different phytogeographical locations in Egypt (ex-situ conservation) and its anti-oxidant activity. Egypt Pharmaceut J 2020;19:97-102

How to cite this URL:
Hammouda FM, Abdel-Azim NS, Shams KA, Hindawy SF, Hassanein HM, Ibrahim AY, Mohamed TA, Saleh IA, El-Missiry MM, El-Gendy ANG, Abdalla WE, Ibrahim AE. Evaluation of the productivity of Cyperus esculentus L. cultivated in different phytogeographical locations in Egypt (ex-situ conservation) and its anti-oxidant activity. Egypt Pharmaceut J [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Aug 14];19:97-102. Available from: http://www.epj.eg.net/text.asp?2020/19/2/97/288655


  Introduction Top


Cyperus esculentus L. belongs to the family Cyperaceae, which is known to be rich in flavonoids, sesquiterpenes, alkaloids, quinines, and coumarins [1]. Sesquiterpenes isolated from the tubers and rhizomes exhibited bioactivities such as insecticidal, anti-malarial, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory activity [2]. C. esculentus is a sedge plant, which has other names such as yellow tiger sedge, chufa, and earth-almond [1] and is known in Arabic as Hab El-Aziz. In Egypt, it was used as an important source of food [3], medicine, and perfumes [4]. Tiger nut is a crop of early domestication and was added to other crops of the Nile Valley; its dry tubers have been found in tombs from predynastic times ∼6000 years ago [5].

Historically, the cultivation and utilization of tiger nut tubers have started with the Egyptians at ∼5000 BC [6],[7]. Since then, tiger nut has spread to other parts of the world. Tiger nut is one of the wild edible plants that could be used to improve human nutrition. The tubers and roots of the plant are used to help in respiratory, aliments, cough, and heat and sharpness of urine [3],[8]. Tubers are also useful in eye diseases, burning sensation, and leprosy [9]. Some people chew the roots to relieve indigestion, especially when the condition is accompanied by bad breath. The primary purpose of cultivating tiger nut in Egypt is because of the sweet tubers, but many people who eat the tubers are not well informed about their benefits. This is one of the reasons tiger nut is still regarded as being underutilized.

The medicinal benefits of tiger nuts are ascribed to a large number of nutritional components it contains. Sugar-free tiger nut milk is suitable for diabetic patients [10]. They are thought to be beneficial to those seeking to reduce cholesterol or lose weight [11]. It is good for arteriosclerosis [12]. According to Stern et al. [13], Paiute Indians pound tiger nut tubers with tobacco leaves applied en masse on wet dressing for treatment of athlete’s foot. The 80% alcoholic extract of defatted powder of C. esculentus tubers showed hepatoprotective activity [14].

In Egypt, C. esculentus is endangered and/or under threat of extinction. The conservation and management of threatened and endangered species is a tremendous challenge that must be addressed to achieve the goal of halting the loss of plant’s biodiversity. For this reason, we started a project on ex-situ conservation and genetic enhancement of C. esculentus tubers. Ex-situ conservation is the process of protecting or preserving the plants outside of its natural habitat by placing in a new environment which may be a wild area or within human control environment.

In this work, the plant was cultivated in four different phytogeographical regions. Physicochemical analysis of soils was done. In addition, irrigation water was analyzed. The growth parameters and plant yield were recorded. The antioxidant activity was determined for the prepared extracts from different locations.


  Materials and methods Top


Locations

This investigation was carried out during two successive seasons (2016/2017 and 2017/2018), to evaluate the growth and productivity and of Cyperus esculentus grown in four different locations in Egypt.

The locations were:
  1. El-Minia Governorate
    1. Sekem Farm: It lies about 450 km south of Cairo, 40 kilometers from the city of Minya and 10 kilometers from the Nile River. Coordinates of farm location 27o58’34.98” North, 30o54’47.88” East.
    2. Saft El Khamar
    3. Nearby cities: El Minya, Abu Qirqas, Samalut
    4. Coordinates: 28°1’47"N 30°41’33"E
    5. Saft El Khamar is a village belonging to Minya, Minya Governorate.
  2. Bahariya Oasis: It is located at the west of the Nile Valley about 180 Km (West of Menya). Within 270 48, and 280 30/ latitude to the north and 280 35/ and 290 10/ longitude to the east.
    1. Sekem Field: SEKEM bought new farmland 346 acres (333 feddan) in Al-Hara village at Bahariya Oasis, which is 25 km from Bawiti, about 350 Km away from Cairo. Al Bawīţī is situated at 28.35° North latitude, 28.87° East longitude and 142 meters elevation above the sea level. Al Bawīţī is a small city in Egypt, having about 20,000 inhabitants.
  3. Aswan Governorate:
    1. Wadi al-Sa’aida is a village belonging to the Edfu Center in Aswan Governorate, Egypt.
  4. El- Sharkia Governorate:
    1. The Experimental Station of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of El-Adlya Farm, Sekem Company, Belbis, EL-Sharkiya Governorate.


Cultivation practices

Tubers of C. esculentus were obtained from Wady Elsheh Farm, Assuit Governorate, Egypt, and cultivated in four different locations ([Figure 1]). The tuber transplants were placed at 5 cm apart from each other, with rows 30 cm apart. Plants were cultivated (45 kg/fed) in 25 March 2017 and 2018. Plants were irrigated immediately after transplanting and later as required to maintain vigorous growth. The physical and chemical analyses of the soil and water used for irrigation characters were conducted according to Jackson [15], and Cottenie et al. [16]. The results are shown in [Table 1] and [Table 2]. In different locations, vegetative characteristics of the plants were determined after 6 months from sowing. The irrigation for the area in all location was between 3 and 7 days according to soil types and environmental conditions at each location. Fertilization per feddan was added at a rate 200 kg/feddan super phosphate 15.5% P2O5 and 100 kg/feddan ammonium sulfate 20.6 N in preparing land for sowing, and after 45 days from sowing, added 100 kg ammonium nitrate 33.5% per feddan, and now the plants can be seen in a vegetative stage in all locations according to the attached photos for C. esculentus in fields. The harvest processes were conducted by hand in November 2017 and 2018, and the growth parameters, viz. plant height (cm), root length (cm), tubers’ number, tubers’ fresh weight (g/plant), tubers’ dry weight (g/plant), herb fresh weight (g/plant), herb dry weight (g/plant), root fresh weight (g/plant), and root dry weight (g/plant), were recorded ([Table 3]).
Figure 1 Tubers of Cyperus esculentus cultivated in different locations: (a) Minya Sekam Farm. (b) Wahat Baharia. (c) Aswan Wady Elsayda. (d) El-Sharkia.

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Table 1 Chemical and physical properties of the studied soils

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Table 2 Chemical properties of water irrigation for studied locations

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Table 3 Effect of different locations on growth and yield characteristics of Cyperus esculentus plants (season 2017)

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Extraction process

Four samples of tiger nut tubers (C. esculentus L.) grown in the two planting periods (March 2017 and 2018) were studied. Eight extract solutions were prepared from dried C. esculentus L. tubers. The 80% methanol extracts of different grinded tubers were done using the ultrasound-assisted extraction. The ultrasound-assisted extraction technique condition was used according to Hassanein and colleagues, using Ultrasonic Processor UP400S (400 W, 24 kHz, Hielscher), with 100% amplitude, 0.5 cycles, 300 ml solvent for each 50-g plant and was held for 30 min. The alcohol extracts were then filtered and dried at 45°C under pressure using rotavapor device, where a yield of 30.6% was obtained from the total dry weight used.

2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical scavenging assay

For the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging assay, 20 µl (4 mg/ml) of extract diluted appropriately in DMSO was mixed with 180 µl of DPPH in methanol (0.4 mg/ml) in wells of a 96-well plate. The plate was kept in the dark for 15 min, after which the absorbance of the solution was measured at 540 nm in a Multiskan automatic kinetic microplate reader (Labsystems Multiskan RC reader). Appropriate blanks (DMSO) and standard (trolox solutions in DMSO) were run simultaneously. Extracts were first tested at a single concentration of 2 mg/ml. This method follows closely that used by previous authors [17].

Statistical analysis

All recorded data were subjected to analysis of variance procedures, and treatment means were compared using least significant difference at 5% [18], as described by Snedecor and Cochran. All data were subjected to analysis of variance and significant means were compared with Duncan multiple range test method, performed using SPSS package (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences). Statistical program, version 19. IBM company program..


  Results Top


Soil and water analyses data are shown in [Table 1] and [Table 2]. Data presented in [Table 3] and [Table 4] indicate that different locations had a significant effect on growth and yield characteristics during the two seasons. In the first season (2017) ([Table 3]), Wadi Elsaeida, Aswan Governorate, gave the highest mean values of plant height (27.12 cm) and dry and fresh weights of tubers (20.83 and 55.21 g/plant, respectively). On the contrary, plants cultivated under El-Baharyia Oasis location conditions produced the maximum mean values of root length (22.82), number of tubers (20.33/plant), dry and fresh weight of roots (22.41 and 114.30 g/plant, respectively) as well as dry and fresh weight of herb (34.73 and 364.7 g/plant, respectively).
Table 4 Effect of different locations on growth and yield characteristics of Cyperus esculentus plants (season 2018)

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In the second season ([Table 4]), plants cultivated under El-Bahrya Oasis gave the maximum mean values of plant height (27.40 cm), root length (19.44 cm), tubers number (21.12/plant), root dry weight (19.36 g/plant), root fresh weight (96.34 g/plant), herb dry weight (32.90 g/plant), and herb fresh weight (345.64 g/plant). Moreover, plants cultivated under Aswan location produced the highest fresh and dry weights of tubers (54.22 and 21.65 g/plant, respectively) followed by El-Baharya Oasis, which recorded 35.17 and 14.02 g/plant, respectively.

In general, the superiority of Aswan and El-Bahrya Oasis locations for production of tubers yield may be owing to that the environmental conditions for both locations especially Aswan (soil, water irrigation, and climatic conditions) are suitable for this plant.

2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl assay

From the DPPH assay, all the extracts exhibited antioxidant activity, when compared with the oxidative potential of the standard compound (Trolox, 96.2%) used in this study. The four extracts from each season were studied. Each location showed similar antioxidant when the two seasons are compared together. Samples obtained from Aswan and El-Bahrya Oasis exerted remarkable activity [92.4 and 90.7%, respectively, in 2017 ([Figure 2]) and 93.6 and 90.2%, respectively, in 2018 ([Figure 3])]. This could be attributed to flavonoid content of tubers such as rutin and diosmin [19],[20].
Figure 2 Concentration–response curves for the DPPH radical scavenging activity of trolox (positive control), are A) El-Minia (Sekem), B) Bahariya Oasis (Sekem), C) Aswan Wadi al-Sa’aida and D) El- Sharkia of C. esculentus tuber cultivated in 2017. DPPH, 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl.

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Figure 3 Concentration–response curves for the DPPH radical scavenging activity of trolox (positive control), are A) El-Minia (Sekem), B) Bahariya Oasis (Sekem), C) Aswan Wadi al-Sa’aida and D) El- Sharkia of C. esculentus tuber cultivated in 2018. DPPH, 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl.

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  Discussion Top


C. esculentus L. tubers are rich in polyphenols such as flavonoids, phenolic acids, and other phenolic compounds [18]. Moreover, tubers have high oil percentage, which showed high antioxidant activity [12]. Those facts explain the high antioxidant activity, which was shown in Aswan and El-Bahrya Oasis samples. Moreover, the superiority of Aswan and El-Bahrya Oasis locations for production of tubers yield may be owing to that the environmental conditions for both locations, especially Aswan (soil, water irrigation, and climatic conditions), which are suitable for this plant.

Acknowledgements

The present study is a part of the work of the in-house project ID: (11080202) entitled ‘Conservation and Genetic Enhancement of C. E. Tubers’ funded by National Research Centre (NRC) (11th In-house Research Project 2016-2019) and to whom the authors are deeply indebted.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
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    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]



 

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