Mineral content of the rocket plant (Eruca sativa)
Rocket (Eruca sativa) is an endemic species of the Brassicaceae family which is produced mostly in Mediterranean countries such as Italy, Greece and Turkey. Historical research has shown that rocket was used both as a garden plant and as a kind of herb or spice (Yaniv et al., 1998). According to data from the Turkish Statistics Foundation (TUIK) for the year 2010, Turkey’s rocket production in a year amounted to 4058 tonnes, and was used either raw in salads or cooked in various dishes. Apart from its use in nutrition, it is also used in the health and cosmetics industries as a result of the effectiveness of its phytochemical content. There have been few studies of these beneficial effects or of the mineral content of rocket; therefore, this study was performed as a survey, in which plant samples were collected from the province of Aydin in Turkey and evaluated for mineral content (N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Na, Fe, Cu, Mn and Zn). After chemical analysis of the samples by standard known methods, statistical analysis was performed using the statistics package SPSS 15.0. According to the results of these analyses, the average content of nutrient elements in rocket (Eruca sativa) was found as 4.32% N, 0.25% P, 5.13% K, 2.95% Ca, 0.58% Mg, 799.88 mgkg-1 Na, 350 mgkg-1 Fe, 5.36 mgkg-1 Cu, 40.58 mgkg-1 Mn and 64.86 mgkg-1 Zn. Minimum and maximum values are given together with average values. The aim of this study was to determine the mineral content of samples of rocket (E. sativa) grown by conventional methods in the province of Aydin, and to correlate this to previous studies.
Key words: Rocket, arugula, Eruca sativa, rocket growing, mineral composition