Special Issue "Mediterranean Edible Plants: An Assessment of Their Antioxidant, Radical Scavenger Properties and Their Use As Super Foods, Nutraceuticals, Functional Foods"

A special issue of Antioxidants (ISSN 2076-3921). This special issue belongs to the section "Natural and Synthetic Antioxidants".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Adriano Mollica
Website
Guest Editor
University of G. d'Annunzio Chieti and Pescara, Chieti, Italy
Interests: phytochemicals, molecular modeling, nutraceuticals, superfood, peptides, proteins
Dr. Azzurra Stefanucci
Website
Co-Guest Editor
University of G. d'Annunzio Chieti and Pescara, Department of Pharmacy, Chieti, Italy
Interests: synthesis, characterization, extraction, NMR, purification, nutraceutic
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Mediterranean diet is recognized to prevent several human diseases, endothelium damage, dysmetabolism, and cardiopathy. Extracts from edible plants may prevent pathology-associated cell damages, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, and physiological processes, such as metabolism and inflammation. Consumption of plant products is of great importance in the Mediterranean diet, known for its benefits on human health. Wild and in-house edible plants which are cooked or consumed as raw salads as part of the Mediterranean-style diet contain a considerable polyphenolic content and exhibit a strong antioxidant activity. In the Mediterranean basin, wild plants rich with antioxidants are harvested and are eaten seasonally. For example, red chicory and blueberry, which are vegetables and fruits, are among the richest antioxidants used as traditional food. Epidemiological data suggest that cardiovascular diseases are lower in the Mediterranean area, where plant foods rich in antioxidants constitute a significant part of the diet. Recently attention has been focused on the possible health benefits of foods with high free-radical trapping activity, since radicals formation is a key process of diverse cardiovascular and neurological pathologies in humans. Therefore, the radical trapping properties of the Mediterranean flora characterized by plant species endowed with various properties, such as anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, antibacterial, and antidiabetic, deserve further investigation and justify the search for new sources of natural antioxidants. 

Prof. Adriano Mollica
Dr. Azzurra Stefanucci
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Antioxidants 
  • Radical scavenger 
  • Superfood 
  • Nutraceuticals 
  • Extraction 
  • Diabetes 
  • Mediterranean diet

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Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Effect of Nitrogen Input on Chemical Profile and Bioactive Properties of Green- and Red-Colored Basil Cultivars
Antioxidants 2020, 9(11), 1036; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9111036 - 23 Oct 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
In the present study, three red-colored (Dark Opal, Basilico Rosso, and Red Basil) and one green-colored landrace (Mitikas) of basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) were grown under four nitrogen regimes, namely Control (no fertilizer added), 200 ppm, 400 ppm, and 600 ppm of [...] Read more.
In the present study, three red-colored (Dark Opal, Basilico Rosso, and Red Basil) and one green-colored landrace (Mitikas) of basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) were grown under four nitrogen regimes, namely Control (no fertilizer added), 200 ppm, 400 ppm, and 600 ppm of nitrogen (N). Fresh yield varied depending on N input following a quadratic function in all four genotypes, and green basil performed better compared to the red cultivars. A significant interaction of genotype × N input was recorded for most of the chemical parameters measured. Tocopherols contents of leaves were consistently higher in plants that received 200 ppm of N and lower in those receiving 600 ppm of N, especially in Dark Opal and Red Basil cultivars. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) were the major category of fatty acids and Red Basil had the lowest ratio of omega-6/omega 3 (0.29) and thus the best fatty acid profile. Polyphenols content was the highest in Red Basil and Dark Opal (25 mg/g of extract on average) and the lowest in Mitikas and decreased with increasing N input. Similarly, antioxidant activity was the highest in Dark Opal and Red Basil fertigated with 200 ppm of N, whereas all the leaf extracts tested had good antibacterial and antifungal activity. In conclusion, basil chemical and bioactive profile was significantly influenced by both genotype and N input. Red-colored basil, although less productive, had the best chemical profile, and moderate levels of N input may provide the best compromise between yield, nutritional value, and bioactivity for the species. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Conservation of Native Wild Ivory-White Olives from the MEDES Islands Natural Reserve to Maintain Virgin Olive Oil Diversity
Antioxidants 2020, 9(10), 1009; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9101009 - 17 Oct 2020
Abstract
Food diversity, and in particular genetic diversity, is being lost at an alarming rate. Protection of natural areas is crucial to safeguard the world’s threatened species. The Medes Islands (MI), located in the northwest Mediterranean Sea, are a protected natural reserve. Wild olive [...] Read more.
Food diversity, and in particular genetic diversity, is being lost at an alarming rate. Protection of natural areas is crucial to safeguard the world’s threatened species. The Medes Islands (MI), located in the northwest Mediterranean Sea, are a protected natural reserve. Wild olive trees also known as oleasters make up part of the vegetation of the Meda Gran island. Among them, in 2012, a wild albino ivory-white olive tree with fruit was identified. Fruits were collected from this tree and their seeds were first sown in a greenhouse and then planted in an orchard for purposes of ex situ preservation. Seven out of the 78 seedling trees obtained (12%) produced ivory-white fruits. In autumn 2018, fruits from these trees were sampled. Although the fruits had low oil content, virgin olive oil with unique sensory, physicochemical, and stability characteristics was produced. With respect to the polyphenols content, oleacein was the main compound identified (373.29 ± 72.02 mg/kg) and the oleocanthal was the second most abundant phenolic compound (204.84 ± 52.58 mg/kg). Regarding pigments, samples were characterized by an intense yellow color, with 12.5 ± 4.6 mg/kg of chlorophyll and 9.2 ± 3.3 mg/kg of carotenoids. Finally, oleic acid was the main fatty acid identified. This study explored the resources of the natural habitat of the MI as a means of enrichment of olive oil diversity and authenticity of this traditional Mediterranean food Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Antioxidant, Nutraceutical Properties, and Fluorescence Spectral Profiles of Bee Pollen Samples from Different Botanical Origins
Antioxidants 2020, 9(10), 1001; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9101001 - 15 Oct 2020
Abstract
Bee pollen is made by honey bees (Apis Mellifera) from the pollen of plants and flowers and represents an apiary product enriched in essential amino acids, polyphenols, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids. This study investigated the botanical origin, micronutrient profile, and [...] Read more.
Bee pollen is made by honey bees (Apis Mellifera) from the pollen of plants and flowers and represents an apiary product enriched in essential amino acids, polyphenols, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids. This study investigated the botanical origin, micronutrient profile, and antioxidant activity of bee pollen samples (n = 10) harvested in Lucca and Massa Carrara (Tuscany, Italy) between 2016 and 2017. The palynological analysis showed that bee pollen samples were composed of nine botanical families. Front-face fluorescence spectroscopy was performed on bee pollen samples in bulk, without any treatment, and in ethanol extracts to determine the characteristic fluorescent profile and, to identify the main chemical compounds with biological activity. The main chemical compounds detected were polyphenols (mainly flavonoids and phenolic acids), hydro-soluble vitamins (B2, B3, B6, and B9), amino acids, and pigments. Furthermore, the antioxidant activity was investigated, and one of the two Viburnum pollens resulted in the highest polyphenols and flavonoids content (20.15 ± 0.15 mg GAE/g fw and 23.46 ± 0.08 mg CE/g fw, respectively). However, Prunus and Eucalyptus families showed the highest in vitro (190.27 ± 8.30 µmol Fe2+/g) and ex vivo (54.61 ± 8.51 CAA unit) antioxidant capacity, respectively. These results suggested that Tuscan bee pollen, depending on the botanical family, is rich in essential nutrients and potential nutraceutical product. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Supplementation Effect of a Combination of Olive (Olea europea L.) Leaf and Fruit Extracts in the Clinical Management of Hypertension and Metabolic Syndrome
Antioxidants 2020, 9(9), 872; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9090872 - 15 Sep 2020
Abstract
Background: The role of herbal products in the prevention of cardiovascular disease requires supporting evidence. This open pilot study assessed the effect of 2-month supplementation of a combination of olive leaf and fruit extracts (Tensiofytol®, Tilman SA, Baillonville, Belgium) in the [...] Read more.
Background: The role of herbal products in the prevention of cardiovascular disease requires supporting evidence. This open pilot study assessed the effect of 2-month supplementation of a combination of olive leaf and fruit extracts (Tensiofytol®, Tilman SA, Baillonville, Belgium) in the clinical management of hypertension and metabolic syndrome (MetS). Methods: A total of 663 (pre)-hypertensive patients were enrolled by general practitioners and supplemented for two months with Tensiofytol®, two capsules per day (100 mg/d of oleuropein and 20 mg/d of hydroxytyrosol). Systolic and diastolic blood pressures (SBP/DBP) were measured before and after treatment. Markers of MetS, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), triglycerides (TG), fasting blood glucose (FG) and waist circumference (WC), were also examined. Results: Significant reductions (p < 0.0001) in SBP/DBP (13 ± 10/7.1 ± 6.6 mmHg) were observed and similarly in pre-diabetic and diabetic patients. Improvements in SBP/DPB were independent of age and gender but greater for elevated baseline SBP/DBP. Tensiofytol® supplementation also significantly improved markers of MetS, with a decrease of TG (11%), WC (1.4%) and FG (4.8%) and an increase of HDL-C (5.3%). Minor side effects were reported in 3.2% patients. Conclusions: This real-life, observational, non-controlled, non-randomized pilot study shows that supplementation of a combination of olive leaf and fruit extracts may be used efficiently and safely in reducing hypertension and MetS markers. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Plant Additives on the Stability of Polyphenols in Cloudy and Clarified Juices from Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)
Antioxidants 2020, 9(9), 801; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9090801 - 27 Aug 2020
Abstract
Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) is a fruit with increasing popularity in consumption and processing. Recent research has strengthened the position of chokeberry as a source of phenolic compounds, antioxidants with high pro-health values, therefore it is important to investigate other substances [...] Read more.
Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) is a fruit with increasing popularity in consumption and processing. Recent research has strengthened the position of chokeberry as a source of phenolic compounds, antioxidants with high pro-health values, therefore it is important to investigate other substances protecting biologically active compounds during juice processing. This study was an attempt to reduce the loss of polyphenol in cloudy and clarified chokeberry juice by adding aqueous cinnamon and clove extracts. The results showed that the clarification of juices did not cause significant changes in the concentration of polyphenols. However, the addition of plant extracts prior to pasteurisation process influenced the content of phenolic compounds in the chokeberry juices. The main change in the composition of the chokeberry juices observed during storage was a result of the degradation process of anthocyanins. The research showed that, despite the common view about the beneficial effects of polyphenols and other compounds exhibiting mutual antioxidative potential, it is very difficult to inhibit the degradation process. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Bioactive Polyphenols from Pomegranate Juice Reduce 5-Fluorouracil-Induced Intestinal Mucositis in Intestinal Epithelial Cells
Antioxidants 2020, 9(8), 699; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9080699 - 03 Aug 2020
Abstract
Intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) play a pivotal role in maintaining intestinal homeostasis. Different noxious agents, among them also anticancer therapies, can impair intestinal epithelial integrity triggering inflammation and oxidative stress. A frequent complication of chemotherapy is gastrointestinal mucositis, strongly influencing the effectiveness of [...] Read more.
Intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) play a pivotal role in maintaining intestinal homeostasis. Different noxious agents, among them also anticancer therapies, can impair intestinal epithelial integrity triggering inflammation and oxidative stress. A frequent complication of chemotherapy is gastrointestinal mucositis, strongly influencing the effectiveness of therapy, increasing healthcare costs, and impairing patients’ quality of life. Different strategies are used to treat gastrointestinal mucositis, including products from natural sources. Our study focused on the effect of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) juice extract on IEC-6 cells, both during inflammatory conditions and following treatment with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). The polyphenolic profile of pomegranate juice was characterized in detail by Online Comprehensive two dimensional Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry. The evaluation of pomegranate juice extract in IEC-6 indicates a significant inhibition in proinflammatory factors, such as cytokines release, cyclooxygenase-2 and inducible nitric oxide synthase expression, and nitrotyrosine formation. Pomegranate also inhibited oxidative stress and adhesion protein expression. In 5-FU-treated IEC-6, pomegranate also inhibited both inflammatory and oxidative stress parameters and apoptosis. It promoted wound repair and tight junction expression. These results suggest a potential use of pomegranate as an adjuvant in the treatment of intestinal inflammatory and oxidative stress states, which also occur during chemotherapy-induced mucositis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Nutraceutical Potential of Dried Pepper Capsicum annuum L. on Market from Altino in Abruzzo Region
Antioxidants 2020, 9(5), 400; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9050400 - 08 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Sweet pepper is a typical type of Capsicum annuum from Abruzzo region, recognized as a traditional and local product, traditionally cultivated in the town of Altino (Abruzzo region, Italy). The aim of this study is to compare the sweet type of peppers from [...] Read more.
Sweet pepper is a typical type of Capsicum annuum from Abruzzo region, recognized as a traditional and local product, traditionally cultivated in the town of Altino (Abruzzo region, Italy). The aim of this study is to compare the sweet type of peppers from Altino with the hot pepper cultivated in the same area, in order to delineate their different phytochemical and biological profiles in vitro and in vivo. In this study, we elucidated their phytochemical composition, fatty acids composition and phenolic/flavonoid contents in extracts. Then antioxidant and enzyme inhibition assays were performed to evaluate their biological properties, together with in vitro cell assay and in vivo anti-inflammatory activity. Microwave (1000 mg/mL) extract of hot pepper showed the best inhibition value on in vitro cell growth assay; in fact, the number of survived cells was about 20% and 40% for microwave and Soxhlet extracts, respectively. In vivo anti-inflammatory assay revealed good activity for both species, which, when associated with in vitro cell inhibition results, could explain the protective effect on human prostatic hyperplasia. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Citrus sinensis and Vitis vinifera Protect Cardiomyocytes from Doxorubicin-Induced Oxidative Stress: Evaluation of Onconutraceutical Potential of Vegetable Smoothies
Antioxidants 2020, 9(5), 378; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9050378 - 02 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The interest towards nutraceuticals able to counteract drug side effects is continuously growing in current chemotherapeutic protocols. In the present study, we demonstrated that smoothies containing mixtures of Citrus sinensis and Vitis vinifera L. cv. Aglianico N, two typical fruits of the Mediterranean [...] Read more.
The interest towards nutraceuticals able to counteract drug side effects is continuously growing in current chemotherapeutic protocols. In the present study, we demonstrated that smoothies containing mixtures of Citrus sinensis and Vitis vinifera L. cv. Aglianico N, two typical fruits of the Mediterranean diet, possess bioactive polyphenols that protect cardiomyocytes against doxorubicin-induced oxidative stress. The polyphenolic extracts isolated from Citrus sinensis- and Vitis vinifera-based functional smoothies were deeply characterized by Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry methods. Subsequently, the functional smoothies and relative mixtures were tested to verify their ability to affect cellular viability and oxidative stress parameters in embryonic cardiomyocyte cells (H9c2), and human breast adenocarcinoma cell line (MCF-7) exposed to doxorubicin. Interestingly, we found that the mix resulting from Citrus sinensis and Vitis vinifera association in ratio 1:1 was able to reduce cardiomyocytes damage induced by anthracyclines, without significantly interfering with the pro-apoptotic activity of the drug on breast cancer cells. These results point out the potential use of vegetable smoothies as adjuvants functional foods for chemotherapeutic anticancer protocols. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Wild and Cultivated Centaurea raphanina subsp. mixta: A Valuable Source of Bioactive Compounds
Antioxidants 2020, 9(4), 314; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9040314 - 15 Apr 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
Centaurea raphanina subsp. mixta (DC.) Runemark is a wild edible species endemic to Greece. This study evaluated the chemical composition and bioactive properties of wild and cultivated C. raphanina subsp. mixta plants. Wild plants had higher nutritional value than cultivated ones, whereas cultivated [...] Read more.
Centaurea raphanina subsp. mixta (DC.) Runemark is a wild edible species endemic to Greece. This study evaluated the chemical composition and bioactive properties of wild and cultivated C. raphanina subsp. mixta plants. Wild plants had higher nutritional value than cultivated ones, whereas cultivated plants contained more tocopherols. Glucose and sucrose were higher in cultivated plants and trehalose in wild ones. Oxalic and total organic acids were detected in higher amounts in cultivated samples. The main fatty acids were α-linolenic, linoleic and palmitic acid, while wild plants were richer in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Two pinocembrin derivatives were the main phenolic compounds being detected in higher amounts in wild plants. Regarding the antioxidant activity, wild and cultivated plants were more effective in the oxidative haemolysis (OxHLIA) and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) assays, respectively. Moreover, both extracts showed moderate cytotoxicity in non-tumor cell lines (PLP2), while cultivated plants were more effective against cervical carcinoma (HeLa), breast carcinoma (MCF-7) and non-small lung cancer (NCI-H460) cell lines. Finally, wild plants showed higher antimicrobial activity than cultivated plants against specific pathogens. In conclusion, the cultivation of C. raphanina subsp. mixta showed promising results in terms of tocopherols content and antiproliferative effects, however further research is needed to decrease oxalic acid content. Full article
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