Introduction of Cacti as Vegetable Crops for Israel
The stems of several cactus species native to Mexico are picked at the younger tender stage and consumed as a vegetable known as nopalitos; either fresh, cooked or pickled. Nopalitos are collected from wild Stands, home gardens, or plantations which are planted on a wide scale in the center of the country (Flores-Valdez, 1995; Mizrahi et. al., 1997; Pimienta-Barrios, 1993). The nutritional composition of nopalitos is similar to that of common green vegetables, e.g. lettuce or spinach (Mizrahi et al., 1997). The main cultivated species are cactus pears bearing flattened succulent stem joints (cladodes), such as Opuntia ficus-indica and Nopalea cochenillifera, for which cultivation Systems, marketing and storage practices have been deve-loped (Cantwell et al., 1992; Florez-Valdez, 1995; Mick, 1992; Mizrahi et al., 1997; Nerd et al., 1997). Because of their potential for high biomass production in warm climates, the low water demand for dry matter produc-tion and the high tolerance to drought, vegetable cactus pears appear to be ideal candidates for cultivation in arid countries (Mizrahi et al., 1997; Nobel, 1988).
KeywordsBiomass Marketing Photosynthesis Lism
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