Influence of Calcium on Biomass Production and Yield of Rebaudioside in Stevia rebaudiana Plants
Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, is a commercial source of potent non-caloric and nonsynthetic sweeteners . It is used worldwide and has gained attention recently by numerous multinational enterprises in the food and beverage industry . Sand was used as a substrate in an experiment carried out in a greenhouse of the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, in University, Mississippi. The experimental design was completely randomized with four replications. Each replication consisted of a pot with one plant. The treatments consisted of a Hogland and Arnon (1950) nutrient solution modified with doses of calcium of 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12 mmol L-1. Plants were harvested 55 days after transplantation and dried to obtain dry weight of shoot. Quantitative analysis of rebaudioside has been done following a previously described method . Both dry weight of shoot and rebaudioside yield were highly influenced for doses of calcium in nutrient solution. The doses of 5.6 mmol L-1 of Ca provided the highest dry weight of shoots (Fig. A) and a dose of 4.0 mmol L-1 of Ca provided a higher rebaudioside yield (Fig. B).
Acknowledgements: Thanks go to the Foundation Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel, of the Ministry of Education, Brazil” (CAPES) and National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development (CNPq), for a Doctor's Degree scholarship granted to the first author. References:  Jarma A, Rengifo R, Araméndiz-Tatis H (2006) Agronomía Colombiana, 24: 38 – 47.  Panpatil VV, Polasa K (2008)J Food Sci Technol, 45(6): 467 – 473  Kolb N, et al. (2001)J Agric Food Chem, 49: 4538 – 4541.