MORPHOMETRIC AND BIOCHEMICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF DATE FRUITS FROM TEN INDIGENOUS DATE CULTIVARS IN THE OUARGLA VALLEY (ALGERIAN SAHARA)
The Algerian production of dates is around 900,000 tons every year. This production is mainly consumed fresh, the rest or even sometimes the rejects can be transformed by traditional or technological processes into date paste, date flour, baker's yeast, alcohol, vinegar, and other by- products. The objective of this study is to characterize the morphometric and biochemical proprieties of ten indigenous date cultivars for showing their potential uses. The water content was obtained by oven drying, the ash content was determined by incineration in the muffle furnace, and sugar was determined by the Lane-Eynon method. Morphological examinations revealed the existence of differences between cultivars; mainly honey color and soft consistency. The size of dates vary between 3.09 cm to 4.9 cm in length and 1.76 cm to 2.41 cm in width, and their weight varies between 4.01 g and 12.77 g. The physico-chemical and biochemical analysis showed an acidic and slightly acidic pH, a water content ranging from 18.3 % to 39.5 %, an ash content ranging from 1.25 % to 3.33 %, and total sugar content between 51.11 % and 65.04 %. So, these cultivars have acceptable potentialities to be valorized by technological means.