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Globe artichoke as a functional food



Globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus L. Fiori) is a traditional component of the Mediterranean diet. Artichoke edible parts are one of the richest dietary sources of polyphenols with high bioavailability, and contain also high-quality inulin, fibres and minerals. Moreover, pharmaceutical artichoke leaf extracts show hypocholesterolemic and choleretic properties. Several clinical studies have shown that the bioactive properties of globe artichoke are due to the high content of polyphenolic compounds in flower heads and leaves, in particular hydroxycinnamates and flavonoids. The total antioxidant capacity of artichoke flower heads is one of the highest reported for vegetables, and is strictly related to their polyphenolic content. Different agronomic variables, such as mycorrhizal inoculation, may affect plant secondary metabolism, and in particular the production of metabolites with health-promoting activities. Our recent data showed large increases of total phenolic content and antioxidant activity in leaves and flower heads of mycorrhizal artichoke plants. KeywordsArtichoke-Functional foods-Polyphenols-Mycorrhizal symbiosis-Antioxidant activity
Globe artichoke as a functional food
Nello Ceccarelli Maurizio Curadi
Piero Picciarelli Luca Martelloni
Cristiana Sbrana Manuela Giovannetti
Received: 18 June 2010 / Accepted: 29 June 2010 / Published online: 13 July 2010
ÓSpringer-Verlag 2010
Abstract Globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var.
scolymus L. Fiori) is a traditional component of the Med-
iterranean diet. Artichoke edible parts are one of the richest
dietary sources of polyphenols with high bioavailability,
and contain also high-quality inulin, fibres and minerals.
Moreover, pharmaceutical artichoke leaf extracts show
hypocholesterolemic and choleretic properties. Several
clinical studies have shown that the bioactive properties of
globe artichoke are due to the high content of polyphenolic
compounds in flower heads and leaves, in particular
hydroxycinnamates and flavonoids. The total antioxidant
capacity of artichoke flower heads is one of the highest
reported for vegetables, and is strictly related to their
polyphenolic content. Different agronomic variables, such
as mycorrhizal inoculation, may affect plant secondary
metabolism, and in particular the production of metabolites
with health-promoting activities. Our recent data showed
large increases of total phenolic content and antioxidant
activity in leaves and flower heads of mycorrhizal arti-
choke plants.
Keywords Artichoke Functional foods Polyphenols
Mycorrhizal symbiosis Antioxidant activity
Globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus
L. Fiori) is an ancient perennial plant species (Asteraceae)
native to the Mediterranean Basin and known since the first
century A.D. The Arabs played an important role in its
diffusion in the Southern Mediterranean area during the
Middle Ages [1]. Nowadays artichoke contributes signifi-
cantly to the Mediterranean agricultural economy, and Italy
is the main world producer. Globe artichoke is cultivated
for its large immature flower heads. The edible parts are the
tender inner bracts and the receptacle, commonly known as
‘heart’’ that constitute nearly 35–55% of the fresh weight
of the head.
In recent years, several epidemiological studies showed
that the consumption of fruits and vegetables, typical of the
Mediterranean diet, is associated with a decrease in the risk
of cancer and cardiovascular diseases [2]. Such health
benefits are mainly due to the high content of antioxidant
compounds (i.e. polyphenols, ascorbic acid, carotenoids) in
plant foods. Plant polyphenols are the most abundant
source of antioxidants in our diet [3]. Compared to other
vegetables, artichoke flower heads contain high levels of
total polyphenols [4] with hepatoprotective, hypocholes-
terolemic and antioxidant properties [5,6]. For these
characteristics, artichoke—a traditional component of the
Mediterranean diet—may be considered a functional food,
according to the definition of the European Commission on
Functional Food Science in Europe (FuFoSE) [7]. From a
nutritional point of view, artichoke is a plant food whose
natural components, beyond their basic nutritional value,
have positive effects on particular target functions, there-
fore reducing the risk of specific diseases. Artichoke has
also several non-food uses: the leaves, rich in polyphenols,
are employed by the pharmaceutical industry for the
N. Ceccarelli M. Curadi P. Picciarelli L. Martelloni
M. Giovannetti (&)
Department of Crop Plant Biology, University of Pisa,
Viale delle Piagge 23, 56124 Pisa, Italy
C. Sbrana
Institute of Biology and Agrobiotechnology, CNR,
UOS Pisa, Via del Borghetto 80, 56124 Pisa, Italy
Mediterr J Nutr Metab (2010) 3:197–201
DOI 10.1007/s12349-010-0021-z
production of commercial extracts, while roots and flower
heads contain inulin, an important oligosaccharide used as
a prebiotic ingredient in functional foods [8]. Artichoke
industrial by-products (stems, outer bracts, leaves) repre-
sent about the 80% of the biomass and may be used as raw
material for the extraction of food additives and nutra-
ceuticals [6]. Moreover, given the large amount of ligno-
cellulosic biomass produced during its cultural cycle,
artichoke may be used as green forage for livestock and as
an energy crop [9].
Italian varieties and propagation
Both globe artichoke and cultivated cardoon (Cynara
cardunculus var. altilis DC) derive from the wild Cynara
cardunculus var. sylvestris Fiori. Globe artichoke is a
robust herbaceous perennial plant with vigorous growth,
medium tolerance to salinity and great adaptation to
Mediterranean climates. It has an autumn-spring growth,
from September (emergence) to July (seed maturity), and
efficiently uses rainfall as water supply. The commercial
production of artichoke is mainly based on the perennial
cultivation of vegetatively propagated clones. With this
objective in view, stems originating from buds on rhizomes
(known as ‘‘carducci’’) are traditionally used, although in
recent years both micropropagation and seed-planted
hybrids have been developed. Clonal propagation of arti-
choke has several advantages, in particular the mainte-
nance of uniformity and heterosis, but it poses problems for
the modern field rotation (an artichoke crop may last six or
more years, reaching the maximum productivity in the
third year), and for the build-up of pathogens and viruses.
Micropropagation techniques are used to obtain pathogen-
free plantlets of late varieties, also taking advantage of
hormonal treatments. Seed-propagated varieties have con-
verted this vegetable from a perennial into an annual crop,
more suitable for industrial agriculture, despite the loss of
precocity and heterosis. On the other hand, the traditional
diffusion in Italy of artichoke clonal propagation by means
of ‘‘carducci’’ has allowed the maintenance of a great
variety of local germplasm of high qualitative value, pre-
venting the loss of genetic diversity, and this is important
for a plant species which is not only a traditional crop, but
also a source of pharmaceutical compounds and a func-
tional food. From this point of view, the preservation of the
genetic diversity of artichoke germplasm as a natural
source of bioactive compounds is fundamental, both for
nutraceutic/pharmacologic applications, and for the selec-
tion of new artichoke varieties with enhanced polyphenolic
Molecular studies showed that the varieties of globe
artichoke cultivated in Italy are highly heterogeneous and
this reflects their multiclonal composition, a direct conse-
quence of the limited selection criteria applied by farmers
[10], aimed at improving earliness and yield, based on
interclonal hybridization and intraclonal selection [11].
Commonly, four main artichoke varietal groups are dis-
tinguished in Italy (‘‘Spinosi’’, ‘‘Violetti’’, ‘‘Catanesi’’ and
‘Romaneschi’’), but most local germplasm is not fully
included in these categories, showing a great range of
variation both for productive characters, in particular
flower head parameters (dimension, shape, weight, n°per
plant, earliness, etc.), and for qualitative-quantitative
phenolic profile [12]. On the basis of the phenological
cycle, reflowering (=early) varieties (i.e. ‘‘Spinoso Sardo’’,
‘Catanese’’, ‘‘Violetto di Sicilia’’) and late varieties
(i.e. ‘‘Romanesco’’, ‘‘Violetto di Toscana’’, ‘‘Terom’’) are
Artichoke production in Italy
Artichoke iswidely distributed all over the world (126,429 ha)
with a production of 1,386,848 t and average yields of 109
q/ha, although it is mainly concentrated in the Mediterra-
nean regions [13]. Italy is the leading producer (40% of the
global production) with 50,699 ha and 510,141 t per year,
followed by Spain (16,800 ha), France (9,475 ha) and
Egypt (3,800 ha) [14]. In Southern Italy, artichoke
is mainly cultivated in Puglia (16,930 ha), Sicilia
(14,800 ha) and Sardegna (13,630 ha) that produce early
varieties, while in Central Italy late varieties are cultivated
in Campania (2,012 ha), Lazio (1,058 ha) and Toscana
(548 ha) [14]. Fresh flower heads are the main prod-
uct, but consistent amounts are also used for industrial
Due to the high production costs and the low market
prices caused by the competition of other Mediterranean
countries (mainly Spain and Egypt), Italian artichoke needs
to be promoted through marketing strategies aimed at
stressing qualitative features that may positively influence
consumers’ choice. Even though traditional qualitative
parameters (organoleptic, commercial) are still used as
reference for fresh vegetables, in recent years consumers
have shown great interest in other qualitative characteris-
tics, such as safety, nutritional value and nutraceutical
Quality of artichoke: safety, nutritional value
and nutraceutical content
Artichoke is a genetically robust plant with a marked tol-
erance to pathogens and aphids: this is probably due to the
high content of sesquiterpenes with antifeedant activity
198 Mediterr J Nutr Metab (2010) 3:197–201
(such as cynaropicrin, which is also responsible for the
typical bitter taste of artichoke). In Italy, local artichoke
ecotypes are highly adapted to the Mediterranean climate:
they show a great tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses,
allowing the cultivation without the aid of chemical
Artichoke flower heads contain about 15–20% of dry
matter, with a remarkable nutritional value (6.8% carbo-
hydrates, 2.9% nitrogen substances). Vitamin C content is
high: 10 mg/100 g f.w. [15]. Compared to other vegeta-
bles, artichoke flower heads are particulary rich in inulin
(19–36% d.w.), with the highest degree of polymerisation
known in plants [6]. Artichoke flower heads represent also
a rich source of minerals, showing in particular K and Ca
contents of 360 and 50 mg/100 g f.w., respectively [16].
Artichoke flower heads, together with blueberries and
soybeans, are among the richest sources of dietary phenolic
antioxidants, showing a total antioxidant capacity (TAC) of
more than 9,000 lmol of Trolox equivalents/100 g f.w.
From a nutritional point of view, the high levels of
bioactive polyphenols (caffeoylquinic acids and flavo-
noids) in the inner bracts and receptacles represent an
added value for artichoke flower heads. Polyphenolic
content in artichoke edible parts is variable: values ranging
from 4.8 mg/g f.w. in var. ‘‘Spinoso Sardo’’ [18]to
29.8 mg/g f.w. in var. ‘‘Violetto di Toscana’ [16] are
reported in the literature. In a recent study, carried out at
the Department of Crop Plant Biology of University of
Pisa, the total phenolic content (TPC, expressed as lgof
chlorogenic acid equivalents/mg f.w.) in the edible parts
of early and late artichoke varieties at the harvest stage
ranged from 10.4 to 18.6% d.w. (corresponding to 7.3 and
13 mg/g f.w., respectively) [19].
The qualitative and quantitative variability of the phe-
nolic complement in artichoke flower heads of different
varieties depends on their genetic diversity, as well as on
their physiological stage of development (harvest time) and
on climatic conditions during plant growth [12,20]. In a
recent molecular study, Italian artichoke genotypes have
shown highly different genetic backgrounds and their
phenolic content appeared strongly influenced by genetic
factors [10]. Other authors have reported, for American
varieties (‘‘Green Globe’’), lower TPC values compared to
European ones [21]: such data may lead to hypothesise that
Mediterranean varieties display a higher polyphenolic
content due to positive interactions between genetic and
environmental factors.
In recent years, evidence of the healthy functions of
polyphenols assumed with the diet have led to investigate
their biosynthesis in plants, and several key enzymes of the
phenylpropanoid pathway, as well as their encoding genes,
have been studied in different plant species. Overexpression
of phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) has been shown
to increase polyphenol accumulation in tobacco [22]. In globe
artichoke, two acyltransferases, HCT (hydroxycinnamoyl-
CoA: shikimate/quinate hydroxycinnamoyltransferase) and
HQT (hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA quinate: hydroxycinnamoyl-
transferase), involved in the synthesis of caffeoylquinic
acids, have been isolated and characterised [23,24].
Enhancement of phenolic complement is presently pursued
in various crops by genetic engineering [25].
Biological activities of artichoke polyphenols
The bioactivity displayed by artichoke flower heads and
leaves is strictly related to their polyphenolic content.
Artichoke leaves contain a very high level of total pheno-
lics, and this justifies their wide use in phytopharmaceutical
applications [12]. Artichoke leaf extracts are currently
commercialised as drugs mainly for the treatment of liver
diseases. In various pharmacological studies, artichoke leaf
extracts have shown a wide range of effects, including
choleretic, hypocholesterolemic and antioxidant activities
[6]. These bioactivities cannot be ascribed to a single
molecule, but to several compounds, as a result of additive
or synergistic interactions. The diuretic and hepatostimu-
lant effects of artichoke leaves have been known since
ancient times, but only in the last decades the bioactive
constituents have been identified.
Chlorogenic acid (5-O-caffeoylquinic acid), 1,5- and
3,4-di-O-caffeoylquinic acids and cynarine are the pre-
dominant compounds among hydroxycinnamates, while
the main flavonoids are apigenin and luteolin, and their
glycosides [12,26]. These phenolics display a marked
scavenging activity against reactive oxygen species (ROS)
and free radicals, acting as a protective pool against oxi-
dative damage to biological molecules, such as proteins,
lipids and DNA [27,28].
The pharmacologic properties of artichoke leaf extracts
are well documented in several in vitro and in vivo studies.
The choleretic activity (increased biliary flux with elimi-
nation of cholesterol) of both chlorogenic acid and cynar-
ine has been demonstrated in several clinical trials [29,30],
and artichoke leaf extracts are believed to be effective in
the therapeutic treatment of dyspeptic syndromes and
gastric diseases. Artichoke leaf extracts also inhibit the
hepatic biosynthesis of cholesterol. This effect is due to
luteolin, which modulates the HMG-CoA reductase activ-
ity (the key enzyme in the cholesterol biosynthesis path-
way) by inhibition mechanisms [31,32]. Moreover,
chlorogenic acid and luteolin may prevent atherosclerosis
inhibiting low-density lipoproteins (LDL) oxidation [33].
Therefore, artichoke leaf extracts show hypocholestero-
lemic activity, due to two parallel mechanisms: reduction
Mediterr J Nutr Metab (2010) 3:197–201 199
of cholesterol biosynthesis and inhibition of LDL oxidation
[34,35]. Artichoke extracts are well tolerated, and may be
useful for the preventive treatments of mild hypercholes-
In recent years, the increasing demand for functional
foods led to a great interest in natural compounds with
antioxidant properties. Since the antioxidant content is
considered an important quality parameter for vegetables,
and a key factor for market development, the acquisition
and diffusion of scientific information on the nutritional
value and health effects of artichoke may influence the
consumers’ food choices.
Whereas past researches concentrated on the phenolic
content of artichoke leaves, used by the pharmaceutical
industry, more recently there is a growing interest in the
phenolic complement of fresh edible parts, also in relation
to different genotypes. Chlorogenic acid is by far the
quantitatively predominant polyphenol in artichoke flower
heads, ranging from 1.3 to 2.4 mg/g f.w. [19]; among
flavonoids, apigenin-7-O-glucuronide is the most repre-
sented [12]. Dietary polyphenols may exert their biological
activity only when they are present in the cells of target
tissues at the right concentration. Therefore, their effective
bioactivity depends on the amount assumed with the diet as
well as on the rate of absorption in the gut and on
metabolism. Studies on the absorption and metabolism of
plant bioactive compounds in humans, often overlooked in
the past, are now considered fundamental for the inter-
pretation of in vivo effects. In recent clinic trials, high
bioavailability of chlorogenic acid after oral administration
of both artichoke leaf extracts [36] and cooked edible parts
[37] was shown. Chlorogenic acid is rapidly adsorbed in
the human gastrointestinal tract or hydrolysed to caffeic
acid, which also exerts antioxidant activity.
Nutraceutical content of mycorrhizal artichoke
Arbuscular mycorrhizas are one of the most widespread
mutualistic symbioses, established between the roots of
most land plants and fungi of the phylum Glomeromycota
(arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, AMF). AMF increase plant
nutrition and water uptake by means of an extensive
mycelial network spreading from colonised roots into the
soil [38,39]. AMF contribute to the maintenance of soil
fertility and may be considered ‘‘natural biofertilizers’’,
whose importance is fundamental in sustainable agroeco-
systems. In the host plant this association determines
higher growth rates, increased resistance to root pathogens
and abiotic stresses (water deficit and salinity), and
increased biosynthesis of antioxidant compounds [40].
Arbuscular mycorrhizas are found in about 80% of plant
species, including cereals, legumes, fruit plants and
vegetables. Present day trend towards a more sustainable
agriculture, with low chemical inputs, leads to consider
mycorrhizal inoculation with suitable species of AMF a
potential biofertilization strategy, in order to enhance plant
growth, yield and quality.
A recent work investigated the effects of mycorrhizal
inoculation with the AMF species Glomus mosseae and
Glomus intraradices (alone or in mixture) on the poly-
phenolic content and the antioxidant properties of arti-
choke. Mycorrhizal symbiosis enhanced phenolic contents
in both leaves and flower heads and the most significant
effect was observed in plants inoculated with the mixture
of both fungal species. Interestingly, mycorrhizal inocula-
tion responses persisted for 2 years after field transplant.
Flower heads of such plants showed large TPC increases
(47 and 55% in the first and second year in the field,
respectively) and ARP enhancements (52 and 30% in the
first and second year in the field, respectively) in compar-
ison with control plants. Moreover, the mean weight of main
flower heads was about 92 and 70% higher (first and second
year in the field, respectively) compared to control plants [41].
Our data allowed us to demonstrate that beneficial symbionts,
such as AMF, represent an environmentally friendly and
efficient strategy to enhance plant biosynthesis of secondary
metabolites with health-promoting activities.
Conflict of interest None.
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Mediterr J Nutr Metab (2010) 3:197–201 201
... These also possess the essential antioxidant compounds; cynarin and chlorogenic acid, by the combination of 1,3 quinic acid with the two molecules of caffeic acid 1, 3-di-o-quinic acid (cynarin), as well as 5-o-caffeoyl quinic acid (cryogenic acid). The biological compound of artichoke leaf extract has a low content of fat and high levels of minerals (potassium, sodium, & phosphorous), vitamin C, fibers, polyphenols, flavones, inulin, hydroxycinnamates, and caffeoylquinic acid derivatives [10,14]. ...
... Hepatoprotective activity [16] Antioxidant potential [21] Cholorectic and diuretic [22] 3,4-Dicaffeoylquinic acid Anti-influenza viral activity [23] 3,5-Dicaffeoylquinic acid Antioxidant and anti-apoptotic [24] 1,5-Dicaffeoylquinic acid Astrocytes protection [25] Prevention of neuron apoptosis in Alzheimer's disease [26] Anti-carcinogenic [27] Antioxidant [19] Flavonoids Luteolin Anticholestatic, choleric [22] Antioxidant potential [28] Antimicrobial activity [29] Vasorelaxant activity [30] Cynaroside (luteolin 7-O-glucoside) Hepato-protective, anticholestatic, cholerectic [31] Scolymoside (luteolin 7-O-rutinoside ) Anti-hyperlipidemic [32] Apigenin Vasorelaxant potential [30] Antioxidant potential [19] Chemo-preventive agent [33] and DNA [14]. Other phenolic compounds, like flavones 5,7-dihydroxy-2-(4-hydroxy-2-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one (apigenin) and 2-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)-5,7 dihydroxy-4-chromenone (luteolin), as well as the anthocyanidins, such as 2-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl) chromenylum-3,5,7-triol (cyanidin), 2-(4-hydroxy-3 methoxy phenyl) chromenylium-3,5,7-triol (peonidin), and 2-(3,4,5-trihydroxyphenyl) chromenylium-3,5,7triol (delphinidin) were only isolated the in heads of artichoke [17]. ...
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Background: Medicinal herbs remain vital source of new chemical entities, instead of the attempt of pharmaceutical companies using combinatorial and synthetic chemistry techniques for developing new drugs. Material and methods: Cynara scolymus commonly known as Artichoke is a rich source of polyphenolic compounds, mainly caffeoylquinic acids and flavonoids, isolated in the polar extracts of the plant, together with the polysaccharide inulin. The worldwide accepted scientific databases were comprehensive reviewed and summarized in systemic manner. Results: The beneficial effects of artichoke in experimental studies include antidiabetic, anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory, anti-hypercholesterolemic, hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, gastrointestinal protectant, reproductive, and anticancer effect. Studies with artichoke conducted in experimental animals have not reported mortality or significant toxicity. Increasing attention is being paid for the development of herbal medicines as newly emerging treatment for the welfare of the patients in the last few decades. Conclusion: The present review detailed the versatile therapeutic efficiency and diverse application of C. scolymus. It is concluded that this medicinal herb has been used in traditional medicine rightly since long, and is helpful in cure of various ailments.
... The plant C. cardunculus L. is generally used in food, and it is also known to serve medicinal purposes throughout the Mediterranean basin. It presents several health benefits derived mostly from its high concentration of antioxidant components such as inulin and polyphenols such as caffeic acid derivates, luteolin, and cymaroside [1,9,[31][32][33]. This plant has been shown in several studies to have the capability of being hepatoprotective, antioxidative, anticarcinogenic, antibacterial, anti-HIV, bile-expelling, urinative activities, an inhibitor of cholesterol biosynthesis, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation [7,9,31,34,35]. ...
... It presents several health benefits derived mostly from its high concentration of antioxidant components such as inulin and polyphenols such as caffeic acid derivates, luteolin, and cymaroside [1,9,[31][32][33]. This plant has been shown in several studies to have the capability of being hepatoprotective, antioxidative, anticarcinogenic, antibacterial, anti-HIV, bile-expelling, urinative activities, an inhibitor of cholesterol biosynthesis, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation [7,9,31,34,35]. ...
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Background: Cynara cardunculus L. var. altilis (DC) is a plant generally associated as an ingredient in the Mediterranean diet. The polyphenols present in this plant provide pharmacological and nutritional properties. C. cardunculus L. has been used throughout animal studies, which demonstrated an anti-inflammatory effect. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the gastrointestinal tract. Since there is not a known cure, the research of new possible pharmacological approaches is essential. This study aims to evaluate the effect of an aqueous extract of C. cardunculus L. dry leaves in a 2,4,6-Trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid (TNBS)-induced colitis model. Methods: CD-1 mice with TNBS-induced colitis received an intraperitoneal (IP) administration of C. cardunculus L. once per day for 4 days. Results: The C. cardunculus L. demonstrated a beneficial effect in this experimental model of IBD with anti-inflammatory action through the reduction of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α levels. It also demonstrated a beneficial influence on the extra-intestinal manifestations related to IBD, with the absence of significant side effects of its use. Conclusions: The extract of C. cardunculus L. dry leaves can become an interesting tool for new possible pharmacological approaches in the management of IBD.
... The differences in mineral contents could be attributed to different growing systems, growing conditions as well as differences in plant age. Artichoke flower heads also represent valuable sources of minerals, showing in particular K and Ca (Ceccarelli et al., 2010), however, there are very few works about the mineral composition of cardoons' extracts. Biel, Witkowicz, Piątkowska, & Podsiadło (2020) in commercial leaf extracts of artichoke (Cynara scolymus) found the same order of magnitude for minerals with the only exception for K (506.3 mg/100 of dry weight), absorbed most by artichoke plants during their growing cycles. ...
In Western and Central Mediterranean countries proteases from wild herbaceous perennial plants commonly known as “thistles” have been used as milk coagulants in cheese-making for centuries. For the first time, the technological and biochemical traits of proteases from cultivated Onopordum tauricum Willd. (Taurian thistle, bull cottonthistle) were assessed. The optimal conditions for minimizing the clotting time and the non-specific proteolytic activity were estimated at the highest (T = 43-45 °C; [Ca²⁺] = 11-13 mM) and the lowest (T = 35-39 °C; [Ca²⁺] = 5 mM) temperature and calcium ion levels in the explored range respectively, thus highlighting the difficulty to set the best operative compromise in the first step of cheesemaking. In the conditions adopted in common cheesemaking practice (T = 37 °C; pH = 6.5) 1 mL of reconstituted extract from cultivated thistles coagulated 10 mL of ewe’s and goat’s milk in 114-146 and 129-167 seconds, respectively, and 1 mL of reconstituted extract from spontaneous thistles coagulated 10 mL of ewe’s and goat’s milk in 232-294 and 428-621 seconds, respectively, while no significant differences in the non-specific proteolytic activity between cultivated and spontaneous O. tauricum extracts were observed. The purified enzyme (tauricosin) was identified as an aspartic protease made up of two sub-units with molecular weights of 32 and 9.6 kDa, respectively. Experimental data encouraged the exploitation of O. tauricum as a new and sustainable non-food crop in marginal and rainfed lands of Mediterranean countries, thus reducing the potential biodiversity losses due to wild collection.
... ferulic acid in strawberries (Castellanos-Morales et al. 2010). The richness of secondary metabolites is plant-family-dependent; the overall content of phenolic compounds does not seem to be affected by AM symbiosis in strawberries, while AMF increases phenolic production by artichoke, which is naturally rich in phenolic compounds (Ceccarelli et al. 2010). ...
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Modern agriculture is currently undergoing rapid changes in the face of the continuing growth of world population and many ensuing environmental challenges. Crop quality is becoming as important as crop yield and can be characterised by several parameters. For fruits and vegetables, quality descriptors can concern production cycle (e.g. conventional or organic farming), organoleptic qualities (e.g. sweet taste, sugar content, acidity) and nutritional qualities (e.g. mineral content, vitamins). For other crops, however, the presence of secondary metabolites such as anthocyanins or certain terpenes in the targeted tissues is of interest as well, especially for their human health properties. All plants are constantly interacting with microorganisms. These microorganisms include arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi as well as certain soil bacteria that provide ecosystem services related to plant growth, nutrition and quality parameters. This review is an update of current research on the single and combined (co-inoculation) use of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria in crop production, with a focus on their positive impacts on crop quality traits (e.g. nutritional value, organoleptic properties). We also highlight the need to dissect mechanisms regulating plant-symbionts and symbiont-symbiont interactions, to develop farming practices and to study a broad range of interactions to optimize the symbiotic potential of root-associated microorganisms.
... In particular, consumption of acyl-quinic acid sources, such as coffee, has been associated with cardiovascular and metabolic health benefits Williamson, 2020). A few clinical trials have investigated the effects of artichoke leaf extract consumption on biomarkers of cardiometabolic risk (Ceccarelli et al., 2010;Rondanelli et al., 2013). However, little is known about their mechanism of action (Clifford, Jaganath, Ludwig, & Crozier, 2017). ...
Artichokes are a rich source of (poly)phenols, mainly caffeoylquinic acids, but little is known about their bioavailability from this source. This study investigated the absorption, metabolism and excretion of (poly)phenols after sous-vide artichoke consumption (5776 µmol of (poly)phenols) by healthy volunteers. Seventy-six (poly)phenol metabolites were identified by UHPLC-MS/MS using authentic standards, including acyl-quinic acids plus C6–C3, C6–C1, C6–C2, C6–C2–N, C6–C0 metabolites, and their phase-II conjugates. The major metabolites were 3ʹ-methoxy-4ʹ-hydroxycinnamic acid, 3ʹ-methoxycinnamic acid-4ʹ-sulfate, and 4ʹ-hydroxycinnamic acid-3ʹ-sulfate, which appeared early in plasma (Tmax < 4 h); plus 3-(3ʹ-methoxy-4ʹ-hydroxyphenyl)propanoic acid, 3-(4ʹ-methoxyphenyl)propanoic acid-3ʹ-glucuronide, 3-(3ʹ-hydroxyphenyl) propanoic acid and hippuric acids, which appeared later (Tmax >6 h). The 24 h urinary recovery averaged 8.9% (molar basis) of the (poly)phenols consumed. Hepatic beta-oxidation of 3ʹ,4ʹ-dihydroxycinnamic acid and methylated conjugates occurred, but was limited (<0.04%). 3ʹ-Methylation exceeded 4ʹ-methylation and interindividual variability was high, especially for gut microbial metabolites (up to 168-fold).
... These natural antioxidants have commercial applications in medicine, food, and cosmetics [46]. Their medical interest lies in their various biological activities such as anti-oxidative ability, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic activities, reduction of the relative risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes type 2, inhibition of the mutagenicity of carcino-genic compounds [47]. ...
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Phagnalon saxatile subsp. saxatile is a wild species very widespread in Algeria which is utilized for medicinal purposes as analgesic and anticholesterolemic. However, informations are still scarce regarding its phytochemical content. The objective of this study was to identify and quantify the phenolic compounds from different extracts of its leafy stems. For this purpose, the effects of four extracting solvents were investigated on the content of phenolic compounds and the antioxidant activity of this plant. Extracts prepared with polar solvents (methanol and water) contained higher amounts of phenolic compounds and showed better antioxidant activity than extracts with apolar solvents (hexane, dichloromethane). The methanolic extract, richest in total phenolic and total flavonoid, had significant antioxidant activity as regarded by DPPH° scavenging capacity (IC50 of 5.47 µg/mL), ABTS scavenging capacity (IC50 of 63.77 µg/mL) and inhibition of oxidation of linoleic acid (IC50 of 22.71 µg/mL), when compared to synthetic antioxidants. Chlorogenic acids and few flavonoids were identified and quantified by UPLC-DAD-MSn. The di-O-caffeoylquinic acids isomers were the most concentrated phenolics (25.4mg/g DW) in the methanolic extract.
... One of the antioxidant compounds present in the artichoke is the vitamin E, which in the human body is soluble in fat and has an effect on the oxidative stress involved in aging and complications as diabetes (Lactantius 2002). The fact that the artichoke is rich in dietetic fibres gives the artichoke the properti to regulate intestinal activity, contributing to the control of blood glucose and cholesterol levels [Ceccarelli,, Curadi & Picciarelli, 2010]. ...
Artichoke is one of the vegetables with higher content in phenolic compounds, which are responsible for their taste, flavor and health beneficial effects. However, phenolic profile and concentration depends on many factors, such as genotype, harvest date, and environmental and agronomical conditions. The main aim of this study was to perform a phytochemical characterization of artichoke heads, based on their position on plant (main, secondary and tertiary head) and harvest date, during a complete growing season. Results showed that total identified polyphenol concentration was higher in tertiary heads than secondary and main heads, due to their higher concentration in hydroxycinnamic acid and luteolin derivatives. On the other hand, two postharvest storage experiments with main, secondary and tertiary artichoke heads, harvested in winter and spring, were performed. In addition, tertiary head showed the lowest weight, firmness losses and respiration rate during cold storage which could be attributed to their higher antioxidant compounds. In conclusion, tertiary heads have a greater aptitude to be stored at low temperature from harvesting to consumption since they maintained the quality properties for longer period of time and had higher content of bioactive compounds. However, main artichokes are the most appreciated by consumers due to their larger size.
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Perennial vegetables, as well as inulin, fiber and minerals, are a rich source of bioactive phenolic compounds. In addition, in folk medicine, artichoke leaf extracts have long been used. Artichoke leaf extracts have demonstrated hepatoprotective, anticarcinogenic, antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-HIV, bile-expelling and urinating activities in various pharmacological test systems, as well as the ability to prevent biosynthesis of cholesterol and LDL oxidation. Asparagus has excellent nutritional properties and a set of volatile elements, including pyrazines and sulphurcontaining compounds, are due to its flavor/fragrance. Rhubarb (Rheum emodi) is an essential medicinal plant that is commonly used in the Ayurvedic and Unani medicine systems. Traditionally used as a diuretic, liver stimulant, purgative/cathartic, stomach, antitumor, anticholesterolaemic, antiseptic, wound healer, antidiabetic and tonic, Rheum emodi has been used. Flavonoids, saponins, anthraquinone derivatives such as Chrysophanol, Aloe-emodin, Emodin, Physcion, Rhein and its glycosides, Glucorhein, and so on are the most essential constituents of rhubarb. Rhubarb, which contains hydrolysable tannins, also has tannins. For the extraction of raw materials from the above perennial vegetables for different pharmacological sectors with regard to human health, this review paper should be considered.
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Both leaves and heads from artichokes are rich in phenolic compounds belonging to different classes: benzoic and cinnamic derivatives, flavonoids and tannins. There are conditions when these phenolic compounds show antioxidant activities and quench different types of free radicals. Therefore, they can be used as nutrient compounds, because of their role in preventing and treating different diseases of radical origin, or as food preservatives. This research deals with the composition and biological activities of artichoke extracts prepared from leaves and heads. Mono-caffeoylquinic acids and di-caffeoylquinic acids are the predominant phenolics in these extracts, which also contain flavonoids (apigenin and luteolin glycosides) and tannins (hydrolysable and condensed tannins). Artichoke extracts and some of their pure phenolic constituents were assessed for their protective role in the control of oxidative damage to biological molecules (proteins, lipids and DNA), caused by free radicals such as RCOO· and/or OH·, and the mechanism of their action using the β-carotene/linoleate assay, the deoxyribose assay and the metmyoglobin assay. The results of this study suggests that artichoke heads are rich in phenolics showing, in some conditions, a good antioxidant activity and might, therefore, be regarded as a source of dietary antioxidants. In addition, leaves and outer bracts of artichoke heads can be considered as a cheap, as yet unused, source of natural non toxic antioxidants for use in industrial processes (to preserve and stabilize the freshness, nutritive value, flavour and colour of foods).
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For some classes of dietary polyphenols, there are now sufficient intervention studies to indicate the type and magnitude of effects among humans in vivo, on the basis of short-term changes in biomarkers. Isoflavones (genistein and daidzein, found in soy) have significant effects on bone health among postmenopausal women, together with some weak hormonal effects. Monomeric catechins (found at especially high concentrations in tea) have effects on plasma antioxidant biomarkers and energy metabolism. Procyanidins (oligomeric catechins found at high concentrations in red wine, grapes, cocoa, cranberries, apples, and some supplements such as Pycnogenol) have pronounced effects on the vascular system, including but not limited to plasma antioxidant activity. Quercetin (the main representative of the flavonol class, found at high concentrations in onions, apples, red wine, broccoli, tea, and Ginkgo biloba) influences some carcinogenesis markers and has small effects on plasma antioxidant biomarkers in vivo, although some studies failed to find this effect. Compared with the effects of polyphenols in vitro, the effects in vivo, although significant, are more limited. The reasons for this are 1) lack of validated in vivo biomarkers, especially in the area of carcinogenesis; 2) lack of long-term studies; and 3) lack of understanding or consideration of bioavailability in the in vitro studies, which are subsequently used for the design of in vivo experiments. It is time to rethink the design of in vitro and in vivo studies, so that these issues are carefully considered. The length of human intervention studies should be increased, to more closely reflect the long-term dietary consumption of polyphenols.
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The content of total phenolic compounds (TPC) and chlorogenic acid (CA) and the antioxidant activity in the methanolic extracts of edible parts of three early and two late Italian artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) varieties were determined and compared. TPC content was determined by the Folin-Ciocalteu reagent and the antioxidant activity by the DPPH method. CA quantification was carried out by HPLC and GC/MS using CA methyl ester as internal standard. Results showed that artichoke varieties differ considerably in their TPC (7.31-13.05 mg/g fresh weight) and CA (1.36-2.46 mg/g fresh weight) content, as well as in their antioxidant activity. No significant correlation was observed between TPC content and DPPH scavenging activity. Boiling the inner bracts of the heads led to a 46% loss of CA.
The present work was carried out to evaluate the polyphenolic composition of the fresh alcoholic extract of Cynara scolymus var. spinoso sardo. Three different methods were used: HPLC/UV, direct spectrophotometric at 330 nm and spectrophotometric with Folin-Ciocalteu reagent (770 nm). The antioxidant properties were evaluated by determining its ability to scavenge the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH.) free radical and by measuring the induction period of soybean oil in its presence or in its absence. The activity was compared with that of the same extract after lyophilization, with standard polyphenols either isolated or mixed (in conformity with artichoke composition) and with synthetic antioxidants (BHA and BHT). There was a considerable quantity of polyphenols in the fresh extract of Cynara scolymus L. var. spinoso sardo and their antioxidant activity in both of the tests used was comparable with BHA and chlorogenic acid activity.
Mycorrhizas are symbiotic associations established between thousands of species of soil-borne fungi and the roots of most terrestrial plant species. This chapter provides an overview and analyzes important data on the main parameters affecting fungal infectivity and efficiency and on fungal ability to survive, multiply and spread in different environments, which may contribute to the biotechnological exploitation and utilization of arbuscular mycorrhizas (AM) fungi in sustainable agriculture and biodiversity conservation. AM fungi represent fundamental factors of plant productivity, because they are capable, by means of extraradical hyphae, to mediate transfer of nutrients from the soil to host plants and between different plants linked by a common mycorrhizal network. Their management appears essential for their use as biofertilizers, for reducing the inputs of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, in the perspectives of sustainable agriculture and of conservation of natural resources. Because, large variations in symbiotic performance have been found in the different host/fungus/soil combinations, a more systematic approach is necessary to detect and select infective and efficient strains to be used for inoculation in diverse host plants and soil conditions.
Cynara cardunculus L. is a diploid (2n = 34) outcrossing perennial species, native to the Mediterranean basin, comprising the globe artichoke, the cultivated cardoon, and the wild cardoon. These species have potential as biomass, sugar, and oilseed crops. This paper aimed to study the genetic variability for sugar production and sugar composition in the roots of different C. cardunculus L. genotypes, in order to select those suitable for this specific purpose in the Mediterranean environment. At harvest the total biomass and root production, averaged for all genotypes, were 20.4 and 9.8 t DM/ha; they were influenced by genotype, with a CV of 37.4 and 38.5%, respectively. On average for all of the genotypes, the roots showed a total sugar content of 367 g DM/kg, with a CV of 17.1%; the main compound was inulin (85.0% of total sugars). The wild cardoon 'SR1' showed the highest total sugar content (470 g/kg DM). On average for all of the genotypes, the total sugar and inulin yields were 3.6 ± 0.20 and 3.0 ± 0.16 t/ha, respectively. It was possible to obtain total sugar yields higher than 4 t/ha in 6 genotypes ('BH', 'VP', 'E438', 'L01', 'C2', 'P1') of the 15 studied.
Phenolic non-flavonoid compounds in diets, such as chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid are widely recognized to be antioxidants. However, it is not known how these phenolics scavenge reactive species of oxygen and nitrogen. We determined the rate constants of the reactions between the phenolics with superoxide and hydroxyl radical with a pulse radiolysis. The second-order rate constants of the reactions of chlorogenic acid with superoxide and hydroxyl radical were 1.67±0.14·106 M−1 s−1 and 3.34±0.19·109 M−1 s−1, respectively, while those of caffeic acid with superoxide and hydroxyl radical were 0.96±0.01·106 M−1 s−1 and 3.24±0.12·109 M−1 s−1, respectively. By scavenging peroxy radical chlorogenic acid inhibited the initiation of chain lipid peroxidations by organic free radical. The second-order rate constant of the reaction of chlorogenic acid with peroxy radical was estimated to be 1.28±0.11·105 M−1 s−1. Chlorogenic acid was rapidly oxidized by peroxynitrite in concentration- and pH-dependent manners and its rate constant was determined to be 1.6±0.7·105 M−1 s−1, using competitive inhibitions by glutathione and methionine.
The choleretic action of artichoke extract [main ingredient: cynarin (1.5-di-caffeoyl-D-quinc acid)] was investigated in a randomised placebo-controlled double-blind cross-over study (pilot study) [n = 20]. The effect of the standardized, artichoke extract: Hepar SL forte (administered as a single dose: 1.92 g, by the intraduodenal route in a solution of 50 ml of water) was studied by measuring intra-duodenal bile secretion using multi-channel probes. Thirty minutes after the test-substance was administered, a 127.3% increase in bile secretion was recorded, after 60 minutes, 151.5%, and after another 60 minutes, 94.3%, each in relation to the initial value. The relevant differences for the placebo were significant to the extent of p < 0.01 and were clinically relevant. The highest increase in the case of the placebo (139.5%) was seen after 30 minutes. At 120 and 150 minutes the volume of bile secreted under the active treatment was also significantly higher than under the placebo (p < 0.05). In the placebo group, bile secretion fell below the initial level after 3 hours. An effective period of about 120-150 minutes was regarded as satisfactory to influence enzymatic digestion and the motor function of the intestine when the test substance was given postprandially. No side effects nor changes in the laboratory parameters in connection with the experiment were observed. Results indicate that artichoke extract can be recommended for the treatment of dyspepsia, especially when the cause may be attributed to dyskinesia of the bile ducts or disorder in the assimilation of fat.
In various molecular, cellular and in vivo test systems, artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) leaf extracts show antioxidative, hepatoprotective, choleretic and anti-cholestatic effects as well as inhibiting actions on cholesterol biosynthesis and LDL oxidation. Recently, active ingredients responsible for the main effects have been identified. Thus, luteolin seems to be of crucial importance for the inhibition of hepatocellular de novo cholesterol biosynthesis. The anti-dyspeptic actions ware mainly based on increased choleresis. Regarding clinical data, lipid-lowering, antiemetic, spasmolytic, choleretic and carminative effects have been described, along with good tolerance and a low incidence of side effects. Due to its specific mechanisms of action, the future use of artichoke leaf extract for the prevention of arteriosclerosis can be expected.