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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Short-Term Pre-Harvest UV-B Supplement Enhances the Polyphenol Content and Antioxidant Capacity of Ocimum basilicum Leaves during Storage

1
University of Florence, Department of Agriculture, Food, Environment and Forestry (DAGRI), Section Woody Plants, CAP. 50019 Sesto Fiorentino (Florence), Italy
2
National Research Council of Italy, Institute for Sustainable Plant Protection (IPSP), CAP. 50019 Sesto Fiorentino (Florence), Italy
3
National Research Council of Italy, Institute of Applied Physics (IFAC), CAP. 50019 Sesto Fiorentino (Florence), Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Plants 2020, 9(6), 797; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9060797
Received: 6 June 2020 / Revised: 21 June 2020 / Accepted: 23 June 2020 / Published: 25 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Phenolics: Occurrence, Biosynthesis, and Biological Roles)
Ocimum basilicum (basil) leaves are rich in polyphenols, conferring them a high antioxidant activity. The application of UV-B can be used to maintain the post-harvest nutraceutical quality of basil leaves. We aimed to investigate the effects of pre-harvest UV-B application on polyphenolic and pigment contents, antioxidant capacity, and the visual quality of basil stored leaves. We also evaluated the applicability of the non-invasive Dualex® for monitoring the accumulation of leaf epidermal phenolics (Flav Index). After exposing plants to white light (control) and to supplemental UV-B radiation for 4 d, the leaves were harvested and stored for 7d (TS7). The UV-B leaves showed both a higher phenolic content and antioxidant capacity than the controls at TS7. In addition, the correlations between the Flav Index and phenolic content demonstrated that Dualex® can reliably assess the content of epidermal phenolics, thus confirming its promising utilization as a non-destructive method for monitoring the phytochemical quality of O. basilicum leaves. In conclusion, a pre-harvesting UV-B application may be a tool for enhancing the content of polyphenols and the antioxidant potential of basil stored leaves without detrimental effects on their visual quality. These results are important considering the nutraceutical value of this plant and its wide commercial distribution. View Full-Text
Keywords: carotenoids; chlorophyll; DPPH; Dualex® device; HPLC-DAD; hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives (HCAs); Ocimum basilicum carotenoids; chlorophyll; DPPH; Dualex® device; HPLC-DAD; hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives (HCAs); Ocimum basilicum
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dos S. Nascimento, L.B.; Brunetti, C.; Agati, G.; Lo Iacono, C.; Detti, C.; Giordani, E.; Ferrini, F.; Gori, A. Short-Term Pre-Harvest UV-B Supplement Enhances the Polyphenol Content and Antioxidant Capacity of Ocimum basilicum Leaves during Storage. Plants 2020, 9, 797.

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