In this study, the effects of salinity on growth, fatty acid, essential oil, and phenolic composition of cumin (Cuminum cyminum L.) seeds as well as the antioxidant activities of their extracts were investigated. Plants were treated with different concentrations of NaCl treatment: 0, 50, 75, and 125 mmoL. Plant growth was significantly reduced with the severity of saline treatment. This also caused important reductions in the seed yield and yield components. Besides, NaCl treatments affected fatty acid composition. Petroselinic and linoleic acids proportions diminished consistently with the increase in NaCl concentration, whereas palmitic acid proportion increased. Furthermore, NaCl enhanced essential oil production in C. cyminum seeds and induced marked changes on the essential oil quality. Essential oil chemotype was modified from γ-terpinene/1-phenyl-1,2 ethanediol in control to γ-terpinene/β-pinene in salt stressed plants. Total polyphenol content was higher in treated seeds, and salinity improved the amount of individual phenolic compounds. Moreover, antioxidant activities of the extracts were determined by four different test systems, namely 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl, β-carotene/linoleic acid chelating, and reducing power assays. The highest antioxidant activities were reveled in severe stressed plants. In this case, cumin seeds produced under saline conditions may function as a potential source of essential oil and antioxidant compounds, which could support the utilization of this plant in a large field of applications such as food industry. © 2016

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