Growth and oil production of argan in the Negev Desert of Israel

A. Nerd, E. Eteshola, N. Borowy, Y. Mizrahi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

Argan (Argania spinosa L.) is a wild tree native to southwestern Morocco. It bears a plum-sized fruit with one to three kernels rich in oil. The oil is highly prized as an edible and cooking oil by the local people. Our study was carried out to investigate the possibility of domesticating the species. Seedlings were planted in the Negev Desert of Israel at the location Qetura with a high summer temperature and brackish water and at the location Ramat Negev with a low winter temperature and good-quality water. Average tree height in the seventh year was 4.0±0.6 m at Qetura and 4.6±0.6 m at Ramat Negev. Best yielders produced dry fruits between 20 and 25 kg/tree at both sites in the sixth and seventh years, and average orchard yield was three-four-times lower as a result of high variation between the trees. Kernels comprised 6.5% of fruit weight and contained 55% of oil. In the seventh year, oil yield was 0.6 kg/tree at Qetura and 50% lower at Ramat Negev. The higher oil yield at Qetura is related to higher average fruit yields, higher kernel weights and higher oil content of the kernels than the values for Ramat Negev. Characteristics of the fruits and fatty acid composition of the argan oil and the chemical composition and quality characteristics of the defatted argan kernel meal are being presented. Fruit components, such as the pericarp (45% of fruit weight), and the defatted meal (3.5% of fruit weight) can be used as animal feeds. The meal is characterized by a high protein content (46%) and a high in vitro digestibility (96%).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-95
Number of pages7
JournalIndustrial Crops and Products
Volume2
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1994

Keywords

  • Defatted meal
  • Domestication
  • Environment
  • Fruiting
  • Growth
  • Oil
  • Salinity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science

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