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Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) crop under Mediterranean conditions: a review

Dimitrios Bilalis, Ioannis Roussis, Ioanna Kakabouki, Antigolena Folina

Abstract


Quinoa is a pseudocereal crop that is well adapted to a wide range of climatic conditions and has significant potential for increased production as a new crop in the Mediterranean region and in other parts of the world, including northern Europe, North America, Asia, and Africa. Because of its exceptional nutritional properties, quinoa is highly appreciated among humans as well as in animal nutrition for feeding both ruminants and nonruminating animals. Data obtained from several studies conducted in Greece, Italy, and Turkey demonstrate the high nutritional and functional potential of quinoa. Nitrogen fertilization has a positive effect on the growth and grain yield of quinoa crops. The biomass has high crude protein and low fiber and is competitive with alfalfa. The assessment of quinoa saponin content is of great importance for the industry. The highest saponin content and yield have been found under organic cropping systems. Oat, bean, and duckweed plants have a great phytotoxic response, especially to the inflorescence tissues of quinoa, confirming the potential allelopathic activity of this promising crop. The major part of the root system is concentrated in the upper 0–30 cm of the soil, and the root length density and root mass density increase with increasing applied nitrogen. In conclusion, quinoa may be suggested as a new alternative crop for semiarid and arid Mediterranean conditions affected by multiple abiotic stress factors because of its stress-tolerant characteristics, adaptability to several agro-ecological conditions, and nutritional and economic value.

Keywords


Allelopathy, fodder crop, Mediterranean basin, root system, saponins

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7764/rcia.v46i2.2151

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.