Brinjal is a delicate and tropical perennial plant. It is cultivated in temperate climates. The stem of the plant is often spiny. It has white flowers with yellow stamen. This vegetable is egg-shaped, glossy, and purple with a meat texture. It is long in shape. When the vegetable is cut, due to oxidation it turns brown. It is the most common absorbent and spongy fruit. Mostly it is used as a vegetable in the kitchen. The scientific name of brinjal is Solanum melongena.
The names of brinjal vary according to the places. In the USA, Australia – eggplant; Ireland, Western Europe- Aubergine; and in the Indian subcontinent people call it by the name brinjal. It belongs to the nightshade vegetable family of Solanaceae.
Worldwide, it is grown as an edible fruit. Botanically, it is known as a purple berry. Brinjal or eggplant contains small edible seeds that taste bitter due to the presence of nicotinoid alkaloids. The macronutrients and micronutrient content in the eggplants are much lower as compared to other vegetables. It is best in absorbing oils and flavors by cooking. It is often called a herb because of its non-woody stem.
Species: S. melongena
Botanical features of parts of brinjal
Leaves – The leaves of brinjal plants are opposite, single lobed, and are covered with wool-like hairs. Leaves may or may not have spines at the midrib parts. Each blade and tip of leaves are obtuse in angle.
Flower – The flowers of the plants are large and of violet color. It is complete, actinomorphic, and hermaphrodite. It depends on cultivar types if the flowers are persistent with or without spines. The flower calyx is fived loved and gamosepalous. In brinjal flowers, there are five stamens in the throat of the corolla. Anthers are cones in shape, free, and with apical dehiscence. The ovary of the flower is bicarpellary, syncarpous, and hypogynous. It also has basal placentation in it.
Fruit – Fruit is known as a pendant of the plant. It has a different shape – oblong, oval, long cylindrical, or obovoid. The colours of the fruits of brinjal are purple, purple-black, white, green, and also with white stripes.
Seed – The seeds of the brinjal fruits are borne on the fleshy placenta. The colors of the seeds are yellow, white, browning yellow, or brown. The ratio of the number of seeds per fruit is 50:1.
Breeding objectives of brinjal
- For increase in production, the exploitation of heterosis
- For the development of cultivars for improving the quality of brinjal.
- For disease-resistant plant
- Incorporation of resistance of pests affecting the fruit and shoot of the plant.
Pests that attack brinjal
- Leucinodes orbonalis – Fruit and shoot borer
- Helicoverpa armigera – Fruit borer
- Euzophera perticella – Brinjal stem borer
- Amrasca bigutella – the leaves attacker
Common and major diseases in brinjal
- Little Leaf of Brinjal (Phytoplasma sp.) – in this the leaves get infected and also get malformed in tiny structures.
- Bacterial Wilt (Pseudomonas solanacearum) – In this, the foliage and fruit of eggplant get affected.
- Cercospora Leaf Spot (Cercospora egenula) – leaves turn irregular in shape.
- Late Blight (Phythophthora spp.) – The skin of infected brinjal fruit turns brown and there is a development of white cottony growth.
- Fusarium Wilt (Fusarium solani) – This disease causes stunted growth, withering of immature fruits, yellowing of lower leaves, and ultimately drying of the whole brinjal plant
- .Alternaria Blight (Alternaria spp.) – the leaves of the plant may drop off and also infect fruits that turn yellow.
Benefits of brinjal
- Brinjal is one of the low-calorie vegetables. It helps to lose weight and stay fit.
- It is very beneficial for maintaining red blood cells to prevent anaemia.
- A low glycemic index in brinjal makes it useful for people who are suffering from diabetes.
- The active compound nasunin present in brinjal helps in fighting cancer and the formation of free radicals.
- Eggplant makes your heart good and healthy.
- This nightshade vegetable also helps in keeping the mind active.
- It normalizes the level of iron in the human body.
Brinal or eggplant is a great edible vegetable worldwide. It has many benefits and uses, Good for the human body as it helps in fighting many diseases. All in all, it is an amazing nightshade vegetable that should be introduced into the daily diet.