Special Issue "Forest, Foods and Nutrition"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecology and Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 July 2020).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Alessandra Durazzo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CREA-Research Centre for Food and Nutrition, Via Ardeatina 546, 00178 Rome, Italy
Interests: natural products; bioactive compounds; antioxidants; food quality; nutrition; food composition databases; dietary supplements; herbs; botanicals; natural substances databases; synthesis; bioavailability, metabolic pathways
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Massimo Lucarini
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CREA-Research Centre for Food and Nutrition, Via Ardeatina 546, 00178 Rome, Italy
Interests: food quality; bioactive compounds; antioxidants; nutrition; metabolism; foods; biodiversity; sustainability; bioavailability; beverages; meat; biorefinery; vegetable; fish; fibre; fatty acids; milk; cereals; food composition database; natural product
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Massimo Zaccardelli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CREA Research Centre for Vegetable and Ornamental Crops, via Cavalleggeri 25, 84098 Pontecagnano (Salerno), Italy
Interests: microbiology; compost; compost tea; biostimulants; biological control; pest management by natural compounds; plant biodiversity; legumes; circular economy; green management in agriculture.

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue addresses our understanding of the intersection of forests, food, and nutrition. Forest ecosystems represent a biodiverse environment resource of species.  Forests and trees play an important role in food production and nutrition. Plants and animals in forests provide nutrient-rich food sources and can make important contributions to dietary diversity, quality, and quantity. Forest foods improve the taste and palatability of staples.

The main topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

-The implementation of sustainable forest management: the optimisation of yields of wild foods and fodder;

-The expansion of agricultural forest landscapes: the new aspect of sustainable agriculture. Reimaging forests as a new set of ecosystems for support sustainable food production;

-Edible and non-edible forest products: an update overview, classification, and cataloguing is welcome;

-Studies on the valorization of foods from forests will be designated. The nutritional value of forest foods. The chemical composition of foods from forests: the identification, isolation, and quantification of nutrients and bioactive components. The elucidation of the main components and an assessment of their interactions, by paying attention to factors, i.e. cultivar, the soil, weather, and topography;

-Conventional and non-conventional extraction procedures, with attention paid to green technologies. Emerging analytical techniques, i.e., infrared spectroscopy, multi-elemental analysis, isotopic ratio mass spectrometry, and nanotechnologies, coupled with chemometrics, are welcome;

-Biologically active extracts and functional components from forest products for uses and applications in nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic sectors;

-The nutritional implications of forests and trees: the benefits of forest products. The contribution of forest foods and a healthy diet. The role of forests in human nutrition. Nutrient-rich forest foods to complement one’s diet;

-Forest foods for food security: the contribution of wild and forest foods to nutrient intake among local communities;

-The elucidation of the role of forests for food security and nutrition. The social and economic impact will be designed.

Dr. Alessandra Durazzo
Dr. Massimo Lucarini
Dr. Massimo Zaccardelli
Prof. Dr. Antonello Santini
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • forest
  • tree
  • edible forest products
  • non-edible forest products
  • nutritional value
  • bioactive compounds
  • sustainable agriculture
  • biodiversity

Published Papers (23 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Forest, Foods, and Nutrition
Forests 2020, 11(11), 1182; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11111182 - 09 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 692
Abstract
Forest ecosystems are an important biodiversity environment resource for many species. Forests and trees play a key role in food production and have relevant impact also on nutrition. Plants and animals in the forests make available nutrient-rich food sources, and can give an [...] Read more.
Forest ecosystems are an important biodiversity environment resource for many species. Forests and trees play a key role in food production and have relevant impact also on nutrition. Plants and animals in the forests make available nutrient-rich food sources, and can give an important contributions to dietary diversity, quality, and quantity. In this context, the Special Issue, entitled “Forest, Food and Nutrition”, is focused on the understanding of the intersection and linking existing between forests, food, and nutrition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)

Research

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Article
Ethnomycological Knowledge of Three Ethnic Groups in Ethiopia
Forests 2020, 11(8), 875; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11080875 - 11 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 842
Abstract
Ethnomycological information was gathered by conducting semi-structured interviews with members of the Amhara, Agew, and Sidama ethnic groups in Ethiopia. A total of 300 individuals were involved in this study. Forest excursions were also undertaken to investigate the habitat and to identify useful [...] Read more.
Ethnomycological information was gathered by conducting semi-structured interviews with members of the Amhara, Agew, and Sidama ethnic groups in Ethiopia. A total of 300 individuals were involved in this study. Forest excursions were also undertaken to investigate the habitat and to identify useful wild mushroom species present in the study areas. A total of 24 useful wild mushroom species were identified. Among the three ethnic groups, the Sidama have the most extensive ethnomycological knowledge and over seven vernacular names for useful fungal species were recorded for this group. Collecting mushrooms is common practice among the Sidama and usually carried out by women and children during the main rainy season from June to September. Useful mushrooms are collected in natural forests, plantation forests, grazing areas, home gardens, and swampy areas. In terms of medicinal uses, Lycoperdon perlatum Pers. and Calvatia rubroflava (Cragin) Lloyd. are well-known treatments for wounds and skin disease. Harvest storage of wild mushroom species is unknown. Respondents in the Amhara and Agew ethnic groups were similar in terms of their use and knowledge of mushrooms. Both ethnic groups reported that although wild mushroom species were consumed by their grandparents, they do not eat mushrooms themselves, which could eventually represent a loss of mycological knowledge in these two ethnic groups. Such inconsistency between ethnic groups in terms of their knowledge may also be linked to the social valuation of mushroom resources, which could easily be mitigated by raising awareness. Thus, the baseline information obtained in this study could be useful for further investigations and documentation, and to promote ethnomycological benefits to different ethnic groups in countries with similar settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
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Article
Sage Species Case Study on a Spontaneous Mediterranean Plant to Control Phytopathogenic Fungi and Bacteria
Forests 2020, 11(6), 704; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11060704 - 24 Jun 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 903
Abstract
Sage species belong to the family of Labiatae/Lamiaceae and are diffused worldwide. More than 900 species of sage have been identified, and many of them are used for different purposes, i.e., culinary uses, traditional medicines and natural remedies and cosmetic applications. [...] Read more.
Sage species belong to the family of Labiatae/Lamiaceae and are diffused worldwide. More than 900 species of sage have been identified, and many of them are used for different purposes, i.e., culinary uses, traditional medicines and natural remedies and cosmetic applications. Another use of sage is the application of non-distilled sage extracts and essential oils to control phytopathogenic bacteria and fungi, for a sustainable, environmentally friendly agriculture. Biocidal propriety of non-distilled extracts and essential oils of sage are w documented. Antimicrobial effects of these sage extracts/essential oils depend on both sage species and bacteria and fungi species to control. In general, it is possible to choose some specific extracts/essential oils to control specific phytopathogenic bacteria or fungi. In this context, the use of nanotechnology techniques applied to essential oil from salvia could represent a future direction for improving the performance of eco-compatible and sustainable plant defence and represents a great challenge for the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
Article
Processed Baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) Food Products in Malawi: From Poor Men’s to Premium-Priced Specialty Food?
Forests 2020, 11(6), 698; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11060698 - 23 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1154
Abstract
The baobab tree (Adansonia digitata L.) is an important source of non-timber forest products in sub-Saharan Africa. Its fruits contain high amounts of vitamin C, calcium, and dietary fibre. In addition, other parts of the tree are traditionally used for human consumption, [...] Read more.
The baobab tree (Adansonia digitata L.) is an important source of non-timber forest products in sub-Saharan Africa. Its fruits contain high amounts of vitamin C, calcium, and dietary fibre. In addition, other parts of the tree are traditionally used for human consumption, particularly during lean seasons. In line with the increasing demand for natural, healthy, and nutritious food products, the baobab has great potential to contribute to human nutrition and rural livelihoods. In Malawi, where demand for baobab has substantially increased within the last decade, baobab fruits are being processed into a variety of food and non-food products, such as fruit juice, ice-lollies, sweets, and cosmetics. Yet, information on the sociodemographic background and quality preferences of baobab consumers is scanty. The current study, therefore, aimed to (1) map the diversity of baobab products available in Malawi; (2) determine consumer segments and their preferences for the most common baobab food products; and (3) examine the contribution of major attributes of processed baobab food products on their price. We employed a mixed-methods approach including the analysis of 132 baobab products and a survey of 141 consumers in formal and informal retail outlets, adopting multistage and purposive sampling. Qualitative and quantitative data were analysed using cluster analysis, cross tabulation, and hedonic regression. Results pointed to two distinct consumer segments for baobab food products, largely following the formal–informal product divide currently existing in Malawi. Both segments clearly differed with regard to preferred product attributes. We also showed that extrinsic product attributes such as packaging quality, labelling, conformity with food standards, or health claims provided distinct differentiation potential for baobab food manufacturers. In addition to providing empirical evidence for the transition of baobab food products into higher-value market segments, our results can help food processing enterprises to improve the composition and marketing of their baobab products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
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Article
Antioxidant Properties of Green Coffee Extract
Forests 2020, 11(5), 557; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11050557 - 15 May 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1003
Abstract
An infusion of green coffee is a commonly consumed beverage, famous for its health-promoting properties. Green coffee owes its properties to the richness of active phytochemicals. The aim of this study was to determine the components of green coffee bean extracts and their [...] Read more.
An infusion of green coffee is a commonly consumed beverage, famous for its health-promoting properties. Green coffee owes its properties to the richness of active phytochemicals. The aim of this study was to determine the components of green coffee bean extracts and their properties. The scope of research included gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and Ultraviolet-Visible spectroscopy (UV-Vis) spectroscopy; the electrochemical determination of the behavior of green coffee extract; and the determination of antioxidant properties by colorimetric spectroscopic methods (ABTS, DPPH, FRAP and CUPRAC). Water and ethanol extracts from green coffee were characterized by significant antioxidant properties and a high capacity to reduce transition metal ions. Voltammetric tests showed that the solution has good antioxidant properties in view of it contains many polyphenolic compounds that oxidize in the potential range tested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
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Article
Ethnobotanical Survey of Wild Edible Fruit Tree Species in Lowland Areas of Ethiopia
Forests 2020, 11(2), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11020177 - 05 Feb 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1322
Abstract
This study aimed to provide baseline information about wild edible tree species (WETs) through surveying of different ethnic groups in dryland areas in Ethiopia. Here the data about WETs are scant, and WETs status is unexplained under the rampant habitat degradation. Use forms, [...] Read more.
This study aimed to provide baseline information about wild edible tree species (WETs) through surveying of different ethnic groups in dryland areas in Ethiopia. Here the data about WETs are scant, and WETs status is unexplained under the rampant habitat degradation. Use forms, plant parts used, status, ethnobotanical knowledge, conservation needs as well as those threats affecting WETs were reviewed. The study identified 88 indigenous wild edible plants, of which 52 species were WETs. In most cases, fruits were found as the dominant use part, and they were used as raw but were occasionally cooked and preserved. Roots and bark uses are also reported from Ximenia americana and Racosperma melanoxylon respectively. June, July and August were critical periods observed for food shortage in most of the regions. However, in the Gambella region, food shortages occurred in most months of the year. The respondents in this region suggested that WETs could potentially provide them with enough food to make up for the shortage of food from conventional agricultural crops. From the respondents’ perception, Opuntia ficus-indica, Carissa edulis and Ficus vasta were among the most difficult to locate species, and they also received the highest conservation attention. Because of the variety of WETs and existing different threats, a management strategy is required for future conservation, as WETs are vital for the livelihood of local communities and are also necessary to devise a food security strategy for Ethiopia. The lesson obtained could also be useful in other dryland parts in developing countries with similar contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
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Article
Local Preferences for Shea Nut and Butter Production in Northern Benin: Preliminary Results
Forests 2020, 11(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11010013 - 19 Dec 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 975
Abstract
Shea products in Benin (West Africa) are produced in a low-developed agroindustry, but they are estimated to be the country’s third largest export. The nut harvesting and quality guaranteeing in the butter process can only be achieved through improvements in the value chain, [...] Read more.
Shea products in Benin (West Africa) are produced in a low-developed agroindustry, but they are estimated to be the country’s third largest export. The nut harvesting and quality guaranteeing in the butter process can only be achieved through improvements in the value chain, thus making it more attractive for stakeholders. The aim of this paper is to provide keys to a better product valorization, obtain a significant increase in household incomes based on shea butter marketing opportunities, and offer competitive products at the local and regional markets. Different markets were designed to catch processors and consumers’ preferences for two improved shea products: butter and nuts in Northern Benin. An open-ended contingent valuation (CV) was applied, and the willingness to pay (WTP) and willingness to accept (WTA) were estimated by using a typical ordinary least squares (OLS) modelling approach. On local markets in Benin, the color, length, and weight of the nuts, as well as the color, smell, and texture of shea butter significantly influence, respectively, the processors’ willingness to accept and the consumers’ willingness to pay for a specific quality level. An increase in price would ensure the quality of the shea butter and would be covered by the premium to be paid by consumers. Certification design and the development of shea resources management and conservation programs should include ethnic preferences and consider gender, to avoid reducing women’s profits in the shea butter local market. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
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Article
Podophyllotoxin Isolated from Podophyllum peltatum Induces G2/M Phase Arrest and Mitochondrial-Mediated Apoptosis in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma Cells
Forests 2020, 11(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11010008 - 18 Dec 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1005
Abstract
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of the most common cancers in East Asia and is the seventh leading cause of cancer deaths. Podophyllotoxin (PT), a cyclolignan isolated from podophyllum peltatum, exhibits anti-cancer effects at the cellular level. This study investigated [...] Read more.
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of the most common cancers in East Asia and is the seventh leading cause of cancer deaths. Podophyllotoxin (PT), a cyclolignan isolated from podophyllum peltatum, exhibits anti-cancer effects at the cellular level. This study investigated the underlying mechanism of anti-cancer effects induced by PT in ESCC cells. Exposure to increasing concentrations of PT led to a significant decrease in the growth and anchorage-independent colony numbers of ESCC cells. PT showed high anticancer efficacy against a panel of four types of ESCC cells, including KYSE 30, KYSE 70, KYSE 410, KYSE 450, and KYSE 510 by IC50 at values ranges from 0.17 to 0.3 μM. We also found that PT treatment induced G2/M phase arrest in the cell cycle and accumulation of the sub-G1 population, as well as apoptosis. Exposure to PT triggered a significant synthesis of reactive oxygen species (ROS), a loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), and activation of various caspases. Furthermore, PT increased the levels of phosphorylated c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), p38, and the expression of Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress marker proteins via ROS generation. An increase in the level of pro-apoptotic proteins and a reduction in the anti-apoptotic protein level induced ESCC cell death via the loss of MMP. Additionally, the release of cytochrome c into the cytosol with Apaf-1 induced the activation of multi-caspases. In conclusion, our results revealed that PT resulted in apoptosis of ESCC cells by modulating ROS-mediated mitochondrial and ER stress-dependent mechanisms. Therefore, PT is a promising therapeutic candidate as an anti-cancer drug against ESCC for clinical use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
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Article
Control of Fungal Diseases and Increase in Yields of a Cultivated Jujube Fruit (Zizyphus jujuba Miller var. inermis Rehder) Orchard by Employing Lysobacter antibioticus HS124
Forests 2019, 10(12), 1146; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10121146 - 15 Dec 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1024
Abstract
The objective of this study is to investigate the inhibitory effects of Lysobacter antibioticus HS124 on fungal phytopathogens causing gray mold rot, stem rot, and anthracnose. Another objective of this study is to promote the yield of fruit in jujube farms. L. antibioticus [...] Read more.
The objective of this study is to investigate the inhibitory effects of Lysobacter antibioticus HS124 on fungal phytopathogens causing gray mold rot, stem rot, and anthracnose. Another objective of this study is to promote the yield of fruit in jujube farms. L. antibioticus HS124 produces chitinase, a lytic enzyme with the potential to reduce mycelial growth of fungal phytopathogens involving hyphal alterations with swelling and bulbous structures, by 20.6 to 27.3%. Inoculation with L. antibioticus HS124 decreased the appearance of fungal diseases in jujube farms and increased the fruit yield by decreasing fruit wilting and dropping. In addition, L. antibioticus HS124 produced the phytohormone auxin to promote vegetative growth, thereby increasing the fruit size. The yield of jujube fruits after L. antibioticus HS124 inoculation was increased by 6284.67 g/branch, which was 2.9-fold higher than that of the control. Auxin also stimulated fine root development and nutrient uptake in jujube trees. The concentrations of minerals, such as K, Ca, Mg, and P in jujube fruits after L. antibioticus HS124 inoculation were significantly increased (1.4- to 2.0-fold greater than the concentrations in the control). These results revealed that L. antibioticus HS124 could not only control fungal diseases but also promote fruit yield in jujube farms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
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Article
Residents’ Attention and Awareness of Urban Edible Landscapes: A Case Study of Wuhan, China
Forests 2019, 10(12), 1142; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10121142 - 13 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 961
Abstract
More and more urban residents in China have suffered from food insecurity and failed to meet the national recommendation of daily fruit and vegetable consumption due to rapid urbanization in recent years. Introducing edible landscapes to urban greening systems represents an opportunity for [...] Read more.
More and more urban residents in China have suffered from food insecurity and failed to meet the national recommendation of daily fruit and vegetable consumption due to rapid urbanization in recent years. Introducing edible landscapes to urban greening systems represents an opportunity for improving urban food supply and security. However, residents’ opinion on urban edible landscapes has rarely been discussed. In this study, questionnaire surveys were performed in eight sample communities in Wuhan, China, to collect the information on residents’ attention and awareness of urban edible landscapes. Results indicated that nearly one-third of the respondents were unaware of edible landscapes before the interview. Most residents thought that an edible landscape could promote efficient land use (57.26%) and express special ornamental effects (54.64%), but quite a few didn’t believe that growing edible plants in urban public spaces could increase food output (37.10%) and improve food quality (40.12%). Overall, 45.65% and 32.73% of the growers performed their cultivation behavior in private and semiprivate spaces, respectively. Lack of public areas for agriculture use was regarded as the main barrier restricting the development of urban horticulture by 55.86% of growers and 59.51% of non-growers. The residents were also worried about their property manager’s opposition, possible conflicts, and complex relationships with their neighbors. Food policies and infrastructure support from local governments and official institutions were needed to ensure the successful implementation of edible landscapes in urban areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
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Article
Polyphenolic Profile and Antioxidant Activity of Juglans regia L. Leaves and Husk Extracts
Forests 2019, 10(11), 988; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10110988 - 06 Nov 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 846
Abstract
The aim of this study is to characterize the antioxidant capacity and establish the profile of polyphenolic compounds in walnut extracts (different extracts prepared from walnut leaf and green husks). The correlation between bioingredients of the product tested and their ability to scavenge [...] Read more.
The aim of this study is to characterize the antioxidant capacity and establish the profile of polyphenolic compounds in walnut extracts (different extracts prepared from walnut leaf and green husks). The correlation between bioingredients of the product tested and their ability to scavenge free radicals and reduce them by chelating various metal ions were examined. Research technology combining TG (thermogravimetry), FTIR (Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy), high-performance liquid chromatography system (HPLC) with electrochemical methods (cyclic and differential pulse voltammetry) and spectrophotometric methods (ABTS, FRAP, and DPPH assays) was used to rate the potential oxidation-reduction components of walnut extracts. A high affinity for scavenging free radicals ABTS and DPPH was found for natural substances present in leaves and green husks. The walnut is beneficial to health as it contains alpha-linolenic acid in its lipid fraction and, as demonstrated in this study, its husks are rich in polyphenolics with high antioxidant capacity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
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Article
Geographical Distribution and Environmental Correlates of Eleutherosides and Isofraxidin in Eleutherococcus senticosus from Natural Populations in Forests at Northeast China
Forests 2019, 10(10), 872; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10100872 - 04 Oct 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 854
Abstract
Non-wood forest products (NWFPs) derived from understory plants are attracting attention about sustainable forestry development. Geographical distribution and climate correlates of bioactive compounds are important to the regional management for the natural reserves of medical plants in forests. In this study, we collected [...] Read more.
Non-wood forest products (NWFPs) derived from understory plants are attracting attention about sustainable forestry development. Geographical distribution and climate correlates of bioactive compounds are important to the regional management for the natural reserves of medical plants in forests. In this study, we collected Eleutherococcus senticosus individuals from 27 plots to map the special distribution of concentrations of eleutheroside B, eleutheroside E, and isofraxidin in forests of Northeast China. Compound concentrations in both aerial and underground organs were further detected for relationships with the average of 20-year records of temperature, precipitation, and relative humidity (RH). We found higher shoot eleutheroside B concentration in populations in northern and low-temperature regions (R = −0.4394; P = 0.0218) and in eastern and high-RH montane forests (R = 0.5003; P = 0.0079). The maximum-likelihood regression indicated that both RH (Pr > Chi-square, 0.0201) and longitude (Pr > Chi-square, 0.0026) had positive contributions to eleutheroside B concentration in roots, but precipitation had strongly negative contributions to the concentrations of eleutheroside E (Pr > Chi-square, 0.0309) and isofraxidin (Pr > Chi-square, 0.0014) in roots. Both geography and climate factors had effects on the special distribution of medical compounds in E. senticosus plants in natural populations in Northeast China. The management of NWFP plants at the regional scale should consider effects from climatic geography. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
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Article
Transcriptome Analysis of Elm (Ulmus pumila) Fruit to Identify Phytonutrients Associated Genes and Pathways
Forests 2019, 10(9), 738; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10090738 - 27 Aug 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1074
Abstract
Plant fruit is an important source of natural active phytonutrients that are profitable for human health. Elm (Ulmus pumila) fruit is considered as natural plant food in China that is rich in nutrients. In the present study, high-throughput RNA sequencing was [...] Read more.
Plant fruit is an important source of natural active phytonutrients that are profitable for human health. Elm (Ulmus pumila) fruit is considered as natural plant food in China that is rich in nutrients. In the present study, high-throughput RNA sequencing was performed in U. pumila edible fruits and leaves and 11,386 unigenes were filtered as dysregulated genes in fruit samples, including 5231 up- and 6155 downregulated genes. Hundreds of pathways were predicted to participate in seed development and phytonutrient biosynthesis in U. pumila by GO, MapMan, and KEGG enrichment analysis, including “seed maturation”, “glycine, serine, and threonine metabolism” and “phenylpropanoid biosynthesis”. ABA-mediated glucose response-related ethylene-activated signaling pathway (e.g., ABI4) were supposed to associate with elm fruit development; unsaturated fatty acids pathway (e.g., ACX2 and SAD) were predicted to participate in determination of fatty acid composition in elm fruit; flavonoid and coumarins biosynthesis (e.g., CYP98A3 and CCoAOMT1) were demonstrated to correlate with the bioactivity of elm fruits in human cancer and inflammation resistance. To provide more information about fruit developmental status, the qRT-PCR analysis for key genes of “phenylpropanoid biosynthesis” and “alpha-Linolenic acid metabolism” were conducted in samples of young fruits, ripe fruit, old fruit, and leaves. Two biosynthetic pathways for unsaturated fatty acid and Jasmonic acid (JA) were deduced to be involved in fruit development in U. pumila and the phenylpropanoid glycoside, syringin, was speculated to accumulate in the early development stages of elm fruit. Our transcriptome data supports molecular clues for seed development and biologically active substances in elm fruits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
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Article
A Comprehensive Assessment of Bioactive Metabolites, Antioxidant and Antiproliferative Activities of Cyclocarya paliurus (Batal.) Iljinskaja Leaves
Forests 2019, 10(8), 625; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10080625 - 26 Jul 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 926
Abstract
Cyclocarya paliurus (Batal.) Iljinskaja is an indigenous and multifunction tree species in China, but it is mainly used in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical ingredients. To make a comprehensive evaluation on its bioactive metabolites, antioxidant and antitumor potentials of C. paliurus leaves, the leaf samples [...] Read more.
Cyclocarya paliurus (Batal.) Iljinskaja is an indigenous and multifunction tree species in China, but it is mainly used in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical ingredients. To make a comprehensive evaluation on its bioactive metabolites, antioxidant and antitumor potentials of C. paliurus leaves, the leaf samples were collected from 15 geographic locations (natural populations) throughout its distribution areas. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and colorimetric methods were used to detect the contents of bioactive metabolites. The antioxidant activity was evaluated by 2,2′-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), 2,2-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) and reducing power assays. The antiproliferative activity on different cancer cell types was evaluated by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Contents of bioactive metabolites, and antioxidant and antiproliferative activities in the extracts were significantly affected by solvent and population. In most cases, the contents of flavonoids and triterpenoids, and the antioxidant and antiproliferative activities in the ethanol extracts were higher than the water extracts. The best scavenging capacity of DPPH (IC50 = 0.34 mg/mL) and ABTS (IC50 = 0.50 mg/mL) radical occurred in the ethanol extracts of S15 and S7 population respectively, while the strongest reducing power (EC50 = 0.71 mg/mL) was achieved in the ethanol extracts of S14 population. The antiproliferation effects of C. paliurus extracts on cancer cells varied with different cell types. The HeLa cell was the most sensitive to C. paliurus extracts, and their IC50 values of the ethanol extracts varied from 0.13 to 0.42 mg/mL among C. paliurus populations. Redundancy analysis showed that total polyphenol had the greatest contribution to the antioxidant activity, but total flavonoid was mostly responsible for the antiproliferation effects. These results would provide important scientific evidences not only for developing C. paliurus as a potent antioxidant and antitumor reagent, but also for obtaining the higher yield of bioactive compounds in the C. paliurus plantation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
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Article
Seasonal Variation in Phenolic Compounds and Antioxidant Activity in Leaves of Cyclocarya paliurus (Batal.) Iljinskaja
Forests 2019, 10(8), 624; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10080624 - 26 Jul 2019
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1044
Abstract
Cyclocarya paliurus (Batal.) Iljinskaja is a plant with nutraceutical importance since its leaves have been used historically as folk medicines for hundreds of years. The content of 10 phenolic compounds was determined throughout the growing season by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with UV [...] Read more.
Cyclocarya paliurus (Batal.) Iljinskaja is a plant with nutraceutical importance since its leaves have been used historically as folk medicines for hundreds of years. The content of 10 phenolic compounds was determined throughout the growing season by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with UV detector, while the antioxidant activities of C. paliurus leaf extracts were evaluated by 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), 2,2′-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) diammonium salt radical cation (ABTS), and ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) methods. Seasonal variations in phenolic concentration and antioxidant activity as well as linkage between the phenolic composition and antioxidant activity were assessed. A significant seasonal variation of phenolic compounds was observed in the leaves and the highest content appeared in May, July, and November. Seventy percent ethanol extract of C. paliurus leaves possessed a good radical scavenging potency. Meanwhile, a significant correlation between antioxidant activities and contents of phenolics was detected. Results of the relationship between molecular structures and their antioxidant activities showed that both the number and configuration of H-donating hydroxyl groups are the main structural features influencing the antioxidant capacity of phenolics, while glycosylation may reduce the antioxidant capacity. The information provided by this study not only revealed the accumulative dynamics of phenolic compounds, but also established a basis for determining the optimal time for harvesting to improve the content of beneficial compounds in the leaves of C. paliurus in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
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Article
Analysis of the Essential Oils of Chamaemelum fuscatum (Brot.) Vasc. from Spain as a Contribution to Reinforce Its Ethnobotanical Use
Forests 2019, 10(7), 539; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10070539 - 27 Jun 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1153
Abstract
Chamaemelum fuscatum (Brot.) Vasc. is a south west Iberian chamomile that has been traditionally used as folk medicine in its natural distribution area but currently it is underestimated regarding its biological activities. For this reason, it is proposed in this paper to get [...] Read more.
Chamaemelum fuscatum (Brot.) Vasc. is a south west Iberian chamomile that has been traditionally used as folk medicine in its natural distribution area but currently it is underestimated regarding its biological activities. For this reason, it is proposed in this paper to get insight into the scientific validation of the traditional knowledge of this plant with the aim of taking advantage of its anti-inflammatory, gastroprotective and antinociceptive activities, among others. To this aim, the chemical composition of the essential oil from the whole plant, the flowers and the green parts of this plant has been evaluated by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS). Plant materials were collected in Badajoz (Spain). A total of 61 components including monoterpenoids, sesquiterpenoids and aliphatic esters were identified. (E)-2-Methyl-2-butenyl methacrylate (27.57%–18.53%) and 2-methylallyl isobutyrate (9.79%–7.51%) were the most abundant compounds in the essential oils of flowers and of the whole plant, whereas α-curcumene, trans-pinocarveol, α-bergamotene and pinocarvone were the major terpenoids irrespective of the plant part considered. Certain compounds showing a relative high abundance as isobutyl methacrylate, isoamyl butyrate, α-bergamotene and pinocarvone were identified for the first time in this species. Finally, we have reviewed the bioactivity of several compounds to relate the ethnobotanical use of this plant in Spain with its volatile profile. This work is a preliminary contribution to reinforce the use to this Mediterranean endemic plant as a natural source of bioactives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
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Article
Contribution of Mangrove Forest to the Livelihood of Local Communities in Ayeyarwaddy Region, Myanmar
Forests 2019, 10(5), 414; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10050414 - 13 May 2019
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 1786
Abstract
Myanmar’s forests are socially and economically significant to the country because over 70% of the country’s population depends on natural resources for daily needs. We conducted this study with the aim of assessing the extent to which direct and indirect (tangible) benefits of [...] Read more.
Myanmar’s forests are socially and economically significant to the country because over 70% of the country’s population depends on natural resources for daily needs. We conducted this study with the aim of assessing the extent to which direct and indirect (tangible) benefits of mangrove forest contribute to local livelihoods in the Ayeyarwaddy Region, Myanmar. We used a questionnaire survey (n = 185 households), interview and group discussion for data collection. The study shows that 43% of total household income is generated through selling of forest products collected from the mangrove forest such as firewood, fishes, crabs and prawn, whereas agricultural and non-farm incomes were found to be 25% and 32% of total income, respectively. The result prevails that income from the mangrove forest products for fish, crab, prawn and firewood is specifically 36%, 28%, 9% and 27%, respectively. Hence, we confirmed that local livelihood mainly depends on the mangrove forest ecosystem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
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Article
Consuming Blackberry as a Traditional Nutraceutical Resource from an Area with High Anthropogenic Impact
Forests 2019, 10(3), 246; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10030246 - 11 Mar 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1255
Abstract
The most serious quality issue of natural resources for human consumption or medicinal purposes is the contamination with pollutants harmful to consumers. Common blackberry (Rubus fruticosus L.) is a sought-after nutraceutical and an important component in herbal medicine in many places around [...] Read more.
The most serious quality issue of natural resources for human consumption or medicinal purposes is the contamination with pollutants harmful to consumers. Common blackberry (Rubus fruticosus L.) is a sought-after nutraceutical and an important component in herbal medicine in many places around the globe. The present study aims to analyze the level of heavy metal bioaccumulation in blackberry organs, as well as its spatial distribution in two consecutive years immediately after the interruption of the extended activity of the industrial source of pollution. The research was conducted in one of the most polluted areas in Romania and Eastern Europe, within a 26 km radius of the source of pollution. The Pb, Cd, Cu, and Zn concentrations in the leaves, flowers, and unwashed blackberry fruits were analyzed spectrophotometrically through flame atomic absorption spectroscopy (FAAS). The results show that blackberry is an important bioaccumulator of these heavy metals—71% of the Pb concentration values and 100% of the Cd concentration values exceeded the World Health Organization thresholds by up to 29 and 15 times, respectively. Also, the leaves are the largest reservoirs of Pb and Zn (the median values: 51.4 mg/kg dry weight and 105.2 mg/kg d.w., respectively), and the flowers contained the largest quantities of Cd and Cu (2.54 mg/kg d.w. and 11.3 mg/kg d.w., respectively). The Pb concentrations decreased by a power function in relation to the distance from the source of pollution. The implications of these results on the safety of the use of blackberry are discussed. The urgent necessity for food education of the local population which consumes contaminated nutraceutical products is emphasized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
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Article
Evaluation of Anti-Tyrosinase and Antioxidant Properties of Four Fern Species for Potential Cosmetic Applications
Forests 2019, 10(2), 179; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10020179 - 19 Feb 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2016
Abstract
Ferns are poorly explored species from a pharmaceutical perspective compared to other terrestrial plants. In this work, the antioxidant and tyrosinase inhibitory activities of hydrophilic and lipophilic extracts, together with total polyphenol content, were evaluated in order to explore the potential cosmetic applications [...] Read more.
Ferns are poorly explored species from a pharmaceutical perspective compared to other terrestrial plants. In this work, the antioxidant and tyrosinase inhibitory activities of hydrophilic and lipophilic extracts, together with total polyphenol content, were evaluated in order to explore the potential cosmetic applications of four Spanish ferns collected in the Prades Mountains (Polypodium vulgare L., Asplenium adiantum-nigrum L., Asplenium trichomanes L., and Ceterach officinarum Willd). The antioxidant activity was evaluated using the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical, oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) and xanthine/xanthine oxidase (X/XO) assays. The potential to avoid skin hyperpigmentation was tested by inhibiting the tyrosinase enzyme, as this causes melanin synthesis in the epidermis. All ferns were confirmed as antioxidant and anti-tyrosinase agents, but interestingly hydrophilic extracts (obtained with methanol) were more potent and effective compared to lipophilic extracts (obtained with hexane). Polypodium vulgare, Asplenium adiantum-nigrum, and Ceterach officinarum methanolic extracts performed the best as antioxidants. Polypodium vulgare methanolic extract also showed the highest activity as a tyrosinase inhibitor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
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Review

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Review
Rediscovering the Contributions of Forests and Trees to Transition Global Food Systems
Forests 2020, 11(10), 1098; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11101098 - 16 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1043
Abstract
The importance of forests to safeguard agricultural production through regulating ecosystem services such as clean water, soil protection, and climate regulation is well documented, yet the contributions of forests and trees to provide food for the nutritional needs of the increasing human population [...] Read more.
The importance of forests to safeguard agricultural production through regulating ecosystem services such as clean water, soil protection, and climate regulation is well documented, yet the contributions of forests and trees to provide food for the nutritional needs of the increasing human population has not been fully realized. Plants, fungi, and animals harvested from forests have long provided multiple benefits—for nutrition, health, income, and cultural purposes. Across the globe, the main element of “forest management” has been industrial wood production. Sourcing food from forests has been not even an afterthought but a subordinate activity that just happens and is largely invisible in official statistics. For many people, forests ensure a secure supply of essential foods and vital nutrients. For others, foraging forests for food offers cultural, recreational, and diversified culinary benefits. Increasingly, these products are perceived by consumers as being more “natural” and healthier than food from agricultural production. Forest-and wild-sourced products increasingly are being used as key ingredients in multiple billion dollar industries due to rising demand for “natural” food production. Consumer trends demonstrate growing interests in forest food gathering that involves biological processes and new forms of culturally embedded interactions with the natural world. Further, intensifying calls to “re-orient” agricultural production provides opportunities to expand the roles of forests in food production; to reset food systems by integrating forests and trees. We use examples of various plants, such as baobab, to explore ways forests and trees provide for food security and nutrition and illustrate elements of a framework to encourage integration of forests and trees. Forests and trees provide innovative opportunities and technological and logistical challenges to expand food systems and transition to a bioeconomy. This shift is essential to meet the expanding demand for secure and nutritious food, while conserving forest biodiversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
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Review
Evaluation of Wild Foods for Responsible Human Consumption and Sustainable Use of Natural Resources
Forests 2020, 11(6), 687; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11060687 - 18 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1001
Abstract
Traditional consumption of plants, fungi and wild animals constitutes a reality for the feeding of diverse human groups in different tropical territories of the world. In this regard, there are two views within the academic community: (1) those who defend the importance of [...] Read more.
Traditional consumption of plants, fungi and wild animals constitutes a reality for the feeding of diverse human groups in different tropical territories of the world. In this regard, there are two views within the academic community: (1) those who defend the importance of the traditional consumption for family food security in rural areas, especially in tropical countries with emerging development; and (2) those who affirm their inconvenience as they are considered vectors of rapidly spreading diseases worldwide. A systematic literature review and an Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) with experts were carried out to identify the contributing criteria and dimensions in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) that help evaluate the potential of wild foods for responsible consumption in terms of human health and nature conservation. Four dimensions were identified. The first three are: (1) importance of food for the community that consumes it (w = 0.31); (2) nutritional value and risks for human health (w = 0.28) and (3) sustainability of the local use of wild food model (w = 0.27). These three obtained similar integrated relative weights, which suggests the possible balanced importance in the formulation of multidisciplinary methods for estimating the potential of wild foods. The fourth identified dimension is: (4) transformation techniques for turning wild foods into products with commercial potential, obtained an integrated relative weight of 0.14, which, although is lower than the other three, still contributes to the potential of this type of food. The study found ten assessment criteria to evaluate the identified dimensions, constituting a starting point to estimate the potential of this type of food. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
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Other

Perspective
Vitex agnus-castus L.: Main Features and Nutraceutical Perspectives
Forests 2020, 11(7), 761; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11070761 - 16 Jul 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1554
Abstract
Medicinal plants are used worldwide due to their lower risk of side effects and eco-friendly, cost-effective production when compared to chemical drugs, encouraging researchers to further exploit the therapeutic potential of the former. One of the most popular medicinal plants is Vitex agnus-castus [...] Read more.
Medicinal plants are used worldwide due to their lower risk of side effects and eco-friendly, cost-effective production when compared to chemical drugs, encouraging researchers to further exploit the therapeutic potential of the former. One of the most popular medicinal plants is Vitex agnus-castus L., grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions, to which different health benefits have already been attributed. In this perspective article, the in vitro and in vivo therapeutic properties of V. agnus-castus L. have been analyzed and reviewed with a special focus on its health-promoting effects and potential nutraceutical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
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Perspective
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.): An Updated Overview on Its Beneficial Properties
Forests 2020, 11(5), 564; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11050564 - 18 May 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1738
Abstract
Medicinal plants, many of which are wild, have recently been under the spotlight worldwide due to growing requests for natural and sustainable eco-compatible remedies for pathological conditions with beneficial health effects that are able to support/supplement a daily diet or to support and/or [...] Read more.
Medicinal plants, many of which are wild, have recently been under the spotlight worldwide due to growing requests for natural and sustainable eco-compatible remedies for pathological conditions with beneficial health effects that are able to support/supplement a daily diet or to support and/or replace conventional pharmacological therapy. The main requests for these products are: safety, minimum adverse unwanted effects, better efficacy, greater bioavailability, and lower cost when compared with synthetic medications available on the market. One of these popular herbs is hawthorn (Crataegus spp.), belonging to the Rosaceae family, with about 280 species present in Europe, North Africa, West Asia, and North America. Various parts of this herb, including the berries, flowers, and leaves, are rich in nutrients and beneficial bioactive compounds. Its chemical composition has been reported to have many health benefits, including medicinal and nutraceutical properties. Accordingly, the present review gives a snapshot of the in vitro and in vivo therapeutic potential of this herb on human health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest, Foods and Nutrition)
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