Skip to main content Accessibility help


  • GHAYOOR FATIMA (a1) (a2) (a3), MARTIN WIEHLE (a1) (a4), IQRAR AHMAD KHAN (a2), ASIF ALI KHAN (a3) and ANDREAS BUERKERT (a1)...


The use of date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) has been closely connected with the survival of people in arid areas given their fruits´ high concentration of energy, fibre, minerals, vitamins and 16 amino acids. The arid climate and sandy or clayey loam soils in many parts of Pakistan are ideal for the cultivation of date palm, which contributes to feeding the country's rapidly growing population. To fill knowledge gaps on the effects of cultivar diversity and cultivation sites on the nutritional properties of dates, the present project studied dates and related physical and chemical soil properties across six districts in four provinces of Pakistan: Jhang, Muzaffargarh and Bahawalpur in Punjab; Dera Ismail Khan (D. I. Khan) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK); Khairpur in Sindh and Panjgur in Baluchistan. To this end, during 2012–2013, a total of 170 households (HHs) were selected using a snowball sampling approach. Thirty-nine different date palm cultivars with diverse nutritional properties are grown in the study area. In these total soluble solids (TSS) were highest in Muzawati and Koharba cultivars, while cultivars and site conditions significantly affected TSS, minerals (calcium and magnesium), acidity, and firmness of dates. Concentration of CaCO3 and bulk density (BD) of soils varied widely, while hydraulic conductivity (HC) was similar across sites (p = 0.128). Mean soil pH was highest in Panjgur (8.3) and lowest in Muzaffargarh (7.6), soil organic matter content was highest in Jhang (0.8%) and lowest in D. I. Khan (0.6%) and plant available phosphorous (P) was highest in Muzaffargarh (7.8 mg kg−1) and lowest in Panjgur (6.0 mg kg−1). As indicated by correlation analysis BD and cation exchange capacity of soils seemed to affect TSS, whereas concentration of CaCO3 and available P were correlated with calcium concentration of dates. HC and electrical conductivity, however, seemed to have little effect on dates´ nutritional properties.


Corresponding author

††Corresponding author. Email:


Hide All
Abul-Soad, A. A. (2010). Date palm in Pakistan, current status and prospective. USAID Firms Project. 9–11.
Abul-Soad, A. A., Jatoi, M. A. and Markhand, G. S. (2013). Performance of three Saudi Arabian date palm varieties under the agro-climatic conditions of Khairpur. Pakistan Journal of Agricultural Sciences 50 (4): 571576.
Ahmed, I. A., Ahmed, A. W. K. and Robinson, R. K. (1995). Chemical composition of date varieties as influenced by the stage of ripening. Food Chemistry 54:305309.
Al-Doss, A. A., Aly, M. A. and Bacha, M. A. (2001). Morphological and agronomical variations among some date palm cultivars grown in Saudi Arabia using principal component and cluster analysis. Saudi Journal of Agricultural Sciences 13:318.
Al-Hooti, S., Sidhu, J. S. and Qabazard, H. (1997). Physico-chemical characteristics of five date fruit cultivars grown in the United Arab Emirates. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 50 (2):101113.
Ali, A., Alhadji, D., Tchiegang, C. and Saïdou, C. (2010). Physico-chemical properties of palmyra palm (Borassus aethiopum Mart.) fruits from Northern Cameroon. African Journal of Food Science 4 (3):115119.
Al-Shahib, W. and Marshall, R. J. (2003). The fruit of the date palm: Its possible use as the best food for the future. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 54:247259.
Anwar, M. M. and Chandio, N. H. (2012). Impacts of drain water on soils and crops and it causes: A case study of Kamber Taluka, Pakistan. Sindh University Research Journal (Science Series) 44 (4):623626.
Arvidsson, J. (1999). Nutrient uptake and growth of barley as affected by soil compaction. Plant and Soil 208:919.
Asif, M. I., Al-Ghamdi, A. S., Al-Tahir, O. A. and Latif, R. A. A. (1986). Studies on the date palm cultivars of Al Hassa oasis. Proceeding of 2nd Symposium on Date Palm, King Faisal University, Al-Hassa, Saudi Arabia. 3–6 March 1986. Al-Hassa, Saudi Arabia. 405–412.
Ayers, R. S. and Westcot, D. W. (1985). Water quality for agriculture. Irrigation and Drainage Paper 29, FAO, Rome, Italy.
Beinroth, F. H., Khan, A., Nizami, M. I. and Syal, M. N. (1985). Soil taxonomy and agrotechnology transfer. In Proceeding of the 12th International Forum on Soil Taxonomy and Agrotechnology Transfer. 9--23 Oct 1985, Lahore, Pakistan, 199–230 (Eds Ahmad, M., Akram, M., Baig, M. S., Javed, M. Y. and Amin, R.). Washington, DC: Soil Management Support Services.
Bender, D. A. and Bender, A. E. (2005). A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition, New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
Chao, C. C. T. and Krueger, R. R. (2007). The date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.): Overview of biology, uses and cultivation. HortScience 42 (5):10771082.
Chapman, H. D. and Pratt, P. F. (1961). Methods of Analysis for Soils, Plants and Water, Riverside, CA, USA: Division of Agricultural Sciences, University of California.
De Freitas, S. T. and Mitcham, E. J. (2012). Factors involved in fruit calcium deficiency disorders. In Horticultural Reviews, 107145 (Ed Jules, J.). New York, NY, USA: John Wiley and Sons Inc.
De Freitas, S. T., Shackel, K. A. and Mitcham, E. J. (2011). Abscisic acid triggers whole-plant and fruit-specific mechanisms to increase fruit calcium uptake and prevent blossom end rot development in tomato fruit. Journal of Experimental Botany 62:26452656.
Dialami, H. and Mohebi, A. H. (2010). Increasing yield and fruit quality of ‘Sayer’ date palm with application of optimum levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Acta Horticulturae 882:353360.
Djibril, S., Mohamed, O. K., Diaga, D., Diegane, D., Abaye, B. F., Maurice, S. and Alain, B. (2005). Growth and development of date palm (Poenix dactylifera L.) seedlings under drought and salinity stresses. African Journal of Biotechnology 4:968972.
El Hadrami, A. E. and Al-Khayri, J. M. (2012). Socioeconomic and traditional importance of date palm. Emirates Journal of Food and Agriculture 24 (5):371385.
Eissa, E. A., Al-Razek, A. B., El-Sharabasy, S. F. and Rizk, R. M. (2009). Morphological and molecular genetic characterization of soft date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) cultivars in Egypt. Egyptian Journal of Genetics and Cytology 38:269284.
Fadel, M. A., Kurmestegy, L., Rashed, M. and Rashed, Z. (2006). Fruit color properties of different cultivars of dates (Phoenix dactylifera L.). Agricultural Engineering International (CIGR, Commission Internationale du Genie Rural) E-Journal volume 8 (Manuscript FP 05 005). URL: (accessed on 1 July 2016).
FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (2014). Food and Agricultural Commodities Production for Pakistan for 2012. URL: (accessed on 28 May 2014).
Faust, M. (1989). Physiology of Temperate Zone Fruit Trees, New York, NY, USA: John Wiley and Sons.
Furr, J. R. and Ream, C. L. (1968). Salinity effects on growth and salt uptake of seedlings of the date, Phoenix dactylifera L. Proceeding of American Society of Horticultural Sciences 92:268273.
Furr, J. R., Ream, R. L. and Ballard, A. L. (1966). Growth of young date palms in relation to soil salinity and chloride content of the pinnae. Date Growers Institute 39:1113.
Glasner, B., Botes, A., Zaid, A. and Emmens, J. (2002). Date harvesting, packing house management and marketing aspects. In Date palm cultivation. Food and Agriculture Organization Plant Production and Protection paper no. 156, 177208 (Ed Zaid, A.). Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Harker, F. R., Maindonald, J. H. and Jackson, P. J. (1996). Penetrometer measurement of apple and kiwifruit firmness: Operator and instrument differences. Journal of American Society of Horticultural Sciences 121 (5):927936.
Hussein, F. and Hussein, M. A. (1982). Effect of irrigation on growth, yield and fruit quality of dry dates grown at Aswan. Proceeding of 1st Symposium on Date Palm, King Faisal University, Al-Hassa, Saudi Arabia. 23–25 March 1982. Al-Hassa, Saudi Arabia. 168–172.
Iqbal, M., Ghaffoor, A. and Rehman, S. (2004). Effect of pollination times on fruit characteristics and yield of date palm cv. Dhakki. International Journal of Agriculture and Biology 6 (1):100107.
Iqbal, M., Imranullah, , Munir, M. and Niamatullah, M. (2011). Physio-chemical characteristics of date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) cultivars at various maturity stages under environmental conditions of Dera Ismail Khan. Journal of Agricultural Research 49 (2):249261.
Ismail, B., Haffar, I., Baalbaki, R., Mechref, Y. and Henry, J. (2006). Physico-chemical characteristics and total quality of five date varieties grown in the United Arab Emirates. International Journal of Food Science and Technology 41 (8):919.
Jackson, D. A. (1993). Multivariate analysis of benthic invertebrate communities: The implications of choosing particular data standardizations, measures of association, and ordination methods. Hydrobiologia 268:926.
Jackson, D. A. (1997). Compositional data in community ecology: The paradigm or peril of proportions. Ecology 78:929940.
Jamil, M. S., Nadeem, R., Hanif, M. A., Ali, M. A. and Akhtar, K. (2010). Proximate composition and mineral profile of eight different unstudied date (Phoenix dactylifera L.) varieties from Pakistan. African Journal of Biotechnology 9:32523259.
Jaradat, A. A. and Zaid, A. (2004). Quality traits of date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) fruits in a center of origin and center of diversity. Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment 2 (1):208217.
Khayyat, M., Tafazoli, E., Eshghi, S. and Rajaee, S. (2007). Effect of nitrogen, boron, potassium and zinc sprays on yield and fruit quality of date palm. American-Eurasian Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Science 2:289296.
Latifian, M., Rahnama, A. A. and Sharifnezhad, H. (2012). Effects of planting pattern on major date palm pests and diseases injury severity. International Journal of Agriculture and Crop Sciences 4 (19):14431451.
Lipiec, J. and Stepniewski, W. (1995). Effects of soil compaction and tillage systems on uptake and losses of nutrients. Soil Tillage Research 35:3752.
Maas, E. V. (1986). Salt tolerance of plants. Applied Agricultural Research 1 (1):1226.
Marcar, N., Crawford, D., Leppart, P., Jovanvic, T., Floyl, R. and Farrow, R. (1995). Trees for Salt Land: A Guide to Select Native Species for Australia, East Melbourne: CSRIO, VIC. 72.
Markhand, G. S., Abul-Soad, A., Mirbahar, A. A. and Kanhar, N. A. (2010). Fruit characterization of Pakistani dates. Pakistan Journal of Botany 42 (6):37153722.
Marzouk, H. A. and Kassem, H. A. (2010). Improving fruit quality, nutritional properties and yield of Zaghloul dates by the application of organic and/or mineral fertilizers. Scientia Horticulturae 127:249254.
Mehana, S. A. (1999). Comparative studies on six date palm cultivars from tissue culture under United Arab Emirates conditions. Zagazig Journal of Agricultural Research 26:119131.
Mohamed, S. G., Abd-Allah, B. M. and Mostafa, F. M. A. (2004). Comparative study on some Iraqi date palm cultivars grown under middle and upper Egypt climatic conditions. Egypt Journal of Applied Sciences 19 (10):39354.
Montagna, M., Chouaia, B., Mazza, G., Prosdocimi, E. M., Crotti, E., Mereghetti, V., Vacchini, V., Giorgi, A., Biase, A. D., Longo, S., Cervo, R., Lozzia, G. C., Alma, A., Bandi, C. and Daffonchio, D. (2015). Effects of the diet on the microbiota of the red palm weevil (Coleoptera: Dryophthoridae). PLoS One 10 (1):e0117439.
Moodie, C. D., Smith, H. W. and McCreery, R. A. (1959). Laboratory Manual for Soil Fertility, 3139. Pullman, WA: Department of Agronomy, State College of Washington.
Munier, P. (1973). Le Palmier Dattier, Paris, France: Maisonneuve et Larose.
Nadeem, M., Rehman, S. U., Anjum, F. M. and Bhatti, I. A. (2011). Texture profile analysis and phenolic content of some date palm varieties. Journal of Agricultural Research 49 (4):527531.
Naseem, S., Bashir, E., Shireen, K. and Shafiq, S. (2009). Soil-plant relationship of Pteropyrum olivieri, a serpentine flora of Wadh, Balochistan, Pakistan and its use in mineral prospecting. Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai Geologia 54 (2):3339.
Odeh, I., Al-Rimawi, F., Abbadi, J., Obeyat, L., Qabbajeh, M. and Hroub, A. (2014). Effect of harvesting date and variety of date palm on antioxidant capacity, phenolic and flavonoid content of date palm (Phoenix dactylifera). Journal of Food and Nutrition Research 2 (8):499505.
Orabi, G. M., Semida, F. M., Abdel-Dayem, M. S., Sharaf, M. R. and Zalat, S. M. (2011). Diversity patterns of ants along an elevation gradient at St. Catherine Protectorate, South Sinai, Egypt. Zoology in the Middle East 54:101112.
Pakistan Meteorological Department. URL: (accessed on 12 February 2015).
Pareek, O. P. (1985). Date palm. In Fruits of India: Tropical and Subtropical, 662675 (Ed Bose, T. K.). Calcutta, India: Naya Prokash.
Poll, L., Petersen, M. B. and Nielsen, G. S. (2003). Influence of harvest year and harvest time on soluble solids, titrateable acid, anthocyanin content and aroma components in sour cherry (Prunus cerasus L. cv. “Stevnsbaer”). European Food Research and Technology 216:212216.
Qureshi, R. H. and Barrett-Lennard, E. G. (1998). Saline Agriculture for Irrigated Lands in Pakistan: A Handbook, Canberra, Australia: ACIAR.
Quraishi, A., Hussain, I., Ahmed, M. and Latif, M. (1997). Sustained multiplication of long term embryogenic cultures of date palm and their field performance. Pakistan Journal of Botany 19 (1):135141.
Reilly, D. and Reilly, A. (2012). Gurra downs date palms: Our plantation. URL: (accessed on 10 June 2015).
Ritzema, H. P. (1994). Drainage Principles and Applications, Wageningen, Netherlands: International Institute for Land Reclamation and Improvement (ILRI).
Rizk, R. M. and El-Sharabasy, S. F. (2007). Descriptors for date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) characterization and evaluation in gene banks. Plant Genetic Resources 150:4244.
Saeed, S., Barozai, M. Y. K., Ahmad, A. and Shah, S. H. (2014). Impact of altitude on soil physical and chemical properties in Sra Ghurgai (Takatu mountain range) Quetta, Balochistan. International Journal of Scientific and Engineering Research 5 (3):730735.
Sakr, M. M., Abu Zeid, I. M., Hassan, A. E., Baz, A. G. I. O. and Hassan, W. M. (2010). Identification of some date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) cultivars by fruit characters. Indian Journal of Science and Technology 3 (3): 338343.
Sedra, M. H., El Filali, H. and Frira, D. (1993). Observation sur quelques caractéristiques phénotypiques et agronomiques du fruit des variétés et clones du palmier dattier sélectionnes. Al Awamia 82:105120.
Shakir, M. S., Hassan, A. U. and Razzaq, A. (2002). Effect of salts on bulk density, particle density and porosity of different soil series. Asian Journal of Plant Sciences 1 (1):56.
Smale, M. (2005). Valuing Crop Biodiversity: On-farm Genetic Resources and Economic Change, 3454. New York, N.Y., USA: CABI Publishing.
Stevens, J. (1986). Applied Multivariate Statistics for the Social Sciences, 373397. New Jersey, USA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Stiles, W. C. and Reid, W. S. (1991). Orchard Nutrition and Soil Management, 219. Ithaca, NY, USA: Cornell University Extension.
Taylor, M. D. and Locascio, S. J. (2004). Blossom-end rot: A calcium deficiency. Journal of Plant Nutrition 27:123139.
ter Braak, C. J. F. (1986). Canonical correspondence analysis: A new eigenvector technique for multivariate direct gradient analysis. Ecology 67:11671179.
ter Braak, C. J. F. and Prentice, I. C. (2004). A theory of gradient analysis. Advances in Ecological Research 18:271317.
Tripler, E., Ben-Gal, A. and Shani, U. (2007). Consequence of salinity and excess boron on growth, evapotranspiration and ion uptake in date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L., cv. Medjool). Plant Soil 297:147155.
Tripler, E., Shani, U., Mualem, Y and Ben-Gal, A. (2011). Long-term growth, water consumption and yield of date palm as a function of salinity. Agricultural Water Management 99 (1):128134.
Underwood, E. J. (1977). Trace Elements in Human and Animal Nutrition, 1369, 4th edn. New York, NY, USA: Academic Press.
Vandercook, C. E., Hasegawa, S. and Maier, V. P. (1977). Quality and nutritive value of dates as influenced by their chemical composition. Date Growers’ Institute 54:39.
Vandercook, C. E., Hasegawa, S. and Maier, V. P. (1980). Dates. In Tropical and Subtropical Fruits: Composition, Properties, and Uses, 506541 (Eds Nagy, S. and Shaw, P. E.). Westport, CT., USA: AVI Publishing Company.
Wasiullah, A. Bhatti, U., Khan, F. and Akmal, M. (2010). Spatial variability and geo-statistics application for mapping of soil properties and nutrients in semi arid district Kohat of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Pakistan). Soil and Environment 29 (2):159166.
Wrigley, G. (1995). Date palm, Phoenix dactylifera . In Evolution of Crop Plants, 399403, 2nd edn. (Eds Smartt, J. and Simmonds, N. W.). London, UK: Longman.
Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Fatima supplementary material
Figure S1 and Tables S1-S4

 PDF (374 KB)
374 KB


  • GHAYOOR FATIMA (a1) (a2) (a3), MARTIN WIEHLE (a1) (a4), IQRAR AHMAD KHAN (a2), ASIF ALI KHAN (a3) and ANDREAS BUERKERT (a1)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed