MILK THISTLE (SILYBUM MARIANUM [L.] GAERTN.) CULTIVATED IN POLYFUNCTIONAL CROP ROTATION AND ITS EVALUATION PUBLISHEDMiroslav Habán, Marta Habánová, Pavol Otepka, Ľubomír Kobida
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum [L. ] Gaertn.) is a medicinal plant cultivated in agriculture. The achenes, i.e. fruits of the plant, are commonly used as a medicinal drug; they are the raw material for isolation of different substances with liver-protection activity. Production of high-quality milk thistle achenes depends on conditions of cultivation that directly influence the quality of final product.A polyfactorial field experiment was established and investigated during vegetation periods from 2004 to 2009 at the Dolna Malanta locality (Nitra district, Slovakia). The following parameters were measured: (1) yields of milk thistle (Silybum marianum [L.] Gaertn.) achenes, i.e. fruits, in 2004–2009; (2) content of silymarin in dry fruits of milk thistle in 2006–2009; and (3) total yields of silymarin per ha in 2006–2007. Factors of the experiment were as follows: (1) crop residues of cultivated pre-crop (no crop residues – K, with crop residues – R); (2) cultivation of freezing-out intercrop (no intercrop – B, with intercrop – M); (3) fertilization using artificial fertilizers (no fertilization – O, with fertilization – F); (4) year of cultivation (2004–2009). The highest yields of milk thistle fruits were recorded in 2006: from 1,426.5 kg/ha (RBO variant – incorporated crop residues without intercrop, no artificial fertilizers) to 1,832.0 kg/ha (KBF variant – without crop residues, without intercrop and with application of artificial fertilizers). The highest content of silymarin complex in dry fruits of milk thistle was measured in 2007: from 15.14 mg/kg (RMF – with crop residues, intercrop and fertilization) to 20.01 mg/kg (KBO – without crop residues, intercrop and fertilization). The highest total yield of silymarin per ha was recorded in investigated variants in 2006; in variant without crop residues it ranged from 16.45 kg/ha (KMF – with intercrop, with fertilizers) to 24.62 kg/ha (KMO – with intercrop, no fertilization).
milk thistle; Silybum marianum [L.] Gaertn.; quantitative-qualitative parameters; yield; technological quality