Research on varieties of Mallorcan carob tree

Es Garrover pilot project in Mallorca:

Coordinator; Juana Verger

Morphological and chemical determination of six varieties of Mallorcan carob tree.

Joan Vidal, Mario Grau and Jaume Seguí

The cultivation of carob has undergone a major boost in recent years, due to its agronomic and food qualities, such as presenting few problems of pests and diseases, being a sustainable crop and easy to adapt to scarce water resources and poor soils, and presenting a significant commercial diversification, from animal bran, to thickeners, preservatives, carob powder and molasses, among others. In addition, the Balearic Islands are one of the largest producers of locust beans in Spain, with a large number of varieties of their own.

This pilot study, subsidised by FOGAIBA (Fons de Garantia Agrària i Pesquera de les Illes Balears), within the “minimum aid for pilot projects and support for the development of new products, practices, processes and technologies 2017”, has been carried out by the company Es Garrover de Mallorca SL, within its interest in encouraging research and development of ecological Mallorcan carob. Specifically, it aims to increase the morphological and chemical knowledge of six of the majority varieties in Mallorca in order to analyse the commercial potential of each of them.

The varieties studied were: Bugadera (from the Llevant area of Mallorca), Duraió, Roja and Pic d’abella (from Raiguer) and Vera and De la mel (from Pariatge de Mallorca).  From about 15 locust beans per variety, the morphological and chemical differences between the different varieties have been analysed.

As far as morphology is concerned, it has been determined that the Bugadera variety is of greater agronomic interest due to its pulp, as it has wider and longer locust beans. While the varieties Vera and Red have a higher yield in terms of locust bean and for that reason, the higher commercial value, due to the high market value of locust bean. As far as the chemical part is concerned, sucrose is determined as the most representative sugar in all the varieties studied, highlighting the high amount of pinitol with respect to glucose and fructose in the Mallorcan varieties. Mel tends to have the highest amount of fructose, while the varieties Pic d’abella, Roja and Duraió have the highest protein content.

We highlight the nutritional interest of the Mallorcan varieties studied, in comparison with other peninsular varieties, due to their high pinitol content. In the Mallorcan varieties the second most important sugar was pinitol, contrary to what was found in the other varieties, where fructose is the second most important sugar. This result is of great interest due to the large number of beneficial properties present in pinitol; anti-inflammatory, antihyperlipidic, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, immunosuppressive, anti-aging, creatine retention stimulants, Alzheimer’s meliorative, anti-cancer and antidiabetic pinitol, among others, so the chemical properties of the Mallorcan varieties of carob should be studied in more detail.

As a final conclusion, depending on the type of interest, be it locust bean or pulp, the Red and Vera or Bugadera varieties stand out, respectively. It is worth highlighting the high proportion of pinitol and sucrose in total sugars. In addition, we would consider the Duraió variety to be the most balanced in terms of commercial value given its chemical qualities, locust bean yield and pulp content.