Food Value of Soft Dates Cultivated in Tunisian Coastal Oases
Maintaining bio-diversity in Tunisian oases has become a subject of first interest in date palm cultivation in Tunisia. Coastal oases still retain a very rich and varied plant biodiversity in comparison with the continental oases, weakened by the mono cultivation of “Deglet Nour” cultivar. Study of soft date’s composition can make there well known to date consumers, help to valorize there and to help of sustainability of coastal oases ecosystem. Fresh dates from 15 cultivars was collected, dried by 80 °C in 20-24 h. Acidity was determinate by pH meter. Sugars were appreciated by enzymatic method. Ash and minerals was calculated by photometer and spectrometer. Chemical date composition study showed that coastal date palm cultivars are predominantly rich of carbohydrates, have a low quantity of sucrose which gives them an important dietary value. Their pH varies from 5 to 6, classifies them as the best date quality for fresh consumption. Their richness in Total Nitrogen Matters and total minerals makes them at almost the same level as the other date palm cultivars analyzed by different authors in different areas of date palm production. Mineral composition showed that these dates are K and P-rich and relatively poor in Na and Ca.