Special Issue "Nutritional and Antioxidant Value of Horticulturae Products"

A special issue of Horticulturae (ISSN 2311-7524). This special issue belongs to the section "Postharvest Biology, Quality, Safety, and Technology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 March 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Lucia Guidi
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa, 56124 Pisa, Italy
Interests: plant physiology and biochemistry; photosynthesis; phytochemicals In fruit and vegetables; antioxidants
Prof. Dr. Luigi De Bellis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, Università del Salento, Centro Ecotekne, via Provinciale Lecce Monteroni, 73100 Lecce, Italy
Interests: plant physiology; genomics; biotechnology; pathology; fruit quality
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Alberto Pardossi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa, 56124 Pisa, Italy
Interests: greenhouse soilless culture (including aquaponics) and containerized outdoor nursery stocks (plant water relations and mineral nutrition; substrate; crop modeling); market and nutraceutical quality of vegetables; open-field vegetable crops (mineral nutrition, irrigation management)
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There is a worldwide growing interest toward the nutritional and antioxidant value of fruit and vegetables, especially because phytochemicals in natural products are perceived as necessary for a healthier diet due to their high antioxidant capacity. Humans and plants are both aerobic organisms with the inevitable and negative consequence of oxygen metabolism. However, differently to plants, humans are not equipped against oxidative stress induced by ROS that is the basis of many degenerative and important pathologies such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer. Endogenous antioxidant defenses in humans are inadequate to prevent damage completely, so diet-derived antioxidants are important in maintaining health. Thus, diet and especially fruit and vegetable represent a good source of antioxidant compounds.

The world horticultural industry must therefore meet the expectations of consumers who are increasingly demanding a sustainable production of high-quality functional foods. Then, researchers must help to create a close association between nutrition/antioxidant value and horticultural products.

Regardless of the above, fruit and vegetable nutritional and antioxidant value depends on a set of nutritional and phytochemical compounds whose level is influenced by multiple environmental, technological, and genetic factors. Therefore, it is necessary to have a deep knowledge of the genetic, molecular, and physiological processes that take place in growing plants, in harvested fruits, leaves, and organs and in how they respond in post-harvest.

This Special Issue on “Nutritional and Antioxidant Value of Horticultural Products” aims to provide readers with novel insights into how quality, in term of nutritional and antioxidant value, is influenced and/or controlled both genetically and environmentally. Contributions through original research papers or reviews that concern molecular genetics and/or physiological approaches to increase fruit and vegetable quality are welcomed.

Prof. Dr. Lucia Guidi
Prof. Dr. Luigi De Bellis
Prof. Dr. Alberto Pardossi
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. Horticulturae 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 1400 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.

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Sensory Profile, Shelf Life, and Dynamics of Bioactive Compounds during Cold Storage of 17 Edible Flowers
Horticulturae 2021, 7(7), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7070166 - 29 Jun 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 681
Abstract
In this study, 17 edible flowers (Allium ursinum L., Borago officinalis L., Calendula officinalis L., Centaurea cyanus L., Cichorium intybus L., Dianthus carthusianorum L., Lavandula angustifolia Mill., Leucanthemum vulgare (Vaill.) Lam., Paeonia officinalis L., Primula veris L., Robinia pseudoacacia L., Rosa canina [...] Read more.
In this study, 17 edible flowers (Allium ursinum L., Borago officinalis L., Calendula officinalis L., Centaurea cyanus L., Cichorium intybus L., Dianthus carthusianorum L., Lavandula angustifolia Mill., Leucanthemum vulgare (Vaill.) Lam., Paeonia officinalis L., Primula veris L., Robinia pseudoacacia L., Rosa canina L., Rosa pendulina L., Salvia pratensis L., Sambucus nigra L., Taraxacum officinale Weber, and Tropaeolum majus L.) were investigated to assess their sensory profile at harvest and their shelf life and bioactive compounds dynamics during cold storage. The emerging market of edible flowers lacks this information; thus, the characteristics and requirements of different flower species were provided. In detail, a quantitative descriptive analysis was performed by trained panelists at flower harvest, evaluating 10 sensory descriptors (intensity of sweet, sour, bitter, salt, smell, specific flower aroma, and herbaceous aroma; spiciness, chewiness, and astringency). Flower visual quality, biologically active compounds content (total polyphenols and anthocyanins), and antioxidant activity (FRAP, DPPH, and ABTS assays) were evaluated both at harvest and during storage at 4 °C for 14 days to assess their shelf life. Generally, species had a wide range of peculiar sensory and phytochemical characteristics at harvest, as well as shelf life and bioactive compounds dynamics during postharvest. A strong aroma was indicated for A. ursinum, D. carthusianorum, L. angustifolia, and L. vulgare, while B. officinalis and C. officinalis had very low values for all aroma and taste descriptors, resulting in poor sensory profiles. At harvest, P. officinalis, R. canina, and R. pendulina exhibited the highest values of polyphenols (884–1271 mg of gallic acid equivalents per 100 g) and antioxidant activity (204–274 mmol Fe2+/kg for FRAP, 132–232 and 43–58 µmol of Trolox equivalent per g for DPPH and ABTS). The species with the longest shelf life in terms of acceptable visual quality was R. pendulina (14 days), followed by R. canina (10 days). All the other species lasted seven days, except for C. intybus and T. officinale that did not reach day 3. During cold storage, the content of bioactive compounds differed, as total phenolics followed a different trend according to the species and anthocyanins remained almost unaltered for 14 days. Considering antioxidant activity, ABTS values were the least variable, varying in only four species (A. ursinum, D. carthusianorum, L. angustifolia, and P. officinalis), while both DPPH and FRAP values varied in eight species. Taken together, the knowledge of sensory profiles, phytochemical characteristics and shelf life can provide information to select suitable species for the emerging edible flower market. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutritional and Antioxidant Value of Horticulturae Products)
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Article
Phytochemical Profile and Antioxidant Properties of Italian Green Tea, a New High Quality Niche Product
Horticulturae 2021, 7(5), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7050091 - 27 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 553
Abstract
The hot beverage commonly known as tea results from the infusion of dried leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze. Ranking second only to water for its consumption worldwide, it has always been appreciated since antiquity for its aroma, taste characteristics, [...] Read more.
The hot beverage commonly known as tea results from the infusion of dried leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze. Ranking second only to water for its consumption worldwide, it has always been appreciated since antiquity for its aroma, taste characteristics, and beneficial effects on human health. There are many different processed tea types, including green tea, a non-fermented tea which, due to oxidation prevention maintains the structure of the bioactive compounds, especially polyphenols; these bioactive compounds show a number of benefits for the human health. The main producers of tea are China and India, followed by Kenya, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Vietnam, however recently new countries are entering the market, with quality niche productions, among which also Italy. The present research aimed to assess the bioactive compounds (polyphenols) and the antioxidant activity of two green teas (the “Camellia d’Oro” tea—TCO, and the “Compagnia del Lago” tea—TCL) produced in Italy, in the Lake Maggiore district, where nurserymen have recently started to cultivate C. sinensis. In this area the cultivation of acidophilic plants as ornamentals has been known since around 1820. Due to the crisis of the floricultural sector, producers have been trying to diversify their product in order to increase their competitiveness, starting to cultivate Italian tea. Their antioxidant activity was assessed, finding a similar or higher antioxidant capacity than in other green teas, as reported in literature. TCO showed a higher antioxidant activity (42,758.86 mmol Fe2+ kg−1; 532.37 µmol TE g−1 DW; 881.08 µmol TE g−1 DW) and phenolic content (14,918.91 mg GAE 100 g−1 DW) than TCL (25,796.61 mmol Fe2+ kg−1; 302.35 µmol TE g−1 DW; 623.44 µmol TE g−1 DW; 8540.42 mg GAE 100 g−1 DW). Through HPLC, a total of thirteen phenolic compounds were identified quantitatively, including catechins, benzoic acids, cinnamic acids, and flavonols, in TCO while only 9 in TCL, and mainly in lower amounts. Albeit with differences, both teas were found to be of quality proving that Italy could have the possibility to grow profitably C. sinensis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutritional and Antioxidant Value of Horticulturae Products)
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Article
The Effects of Post-Harvest Treatments on the Quality of Agastache aurantiaca Edible Flowers
Horticulturae 2021, 7(4), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7040083 - 15 Apr 2021
Viewed by 784
Abstract
Agastache spp. are used as ornamental plants for their pleasant aroma and the different colors of flowers. Nowadays, their edible flowers have become attractive for their nutraceutical properties. Post-harvest treatment appears as a crucial point to avoid impairment of the nutraceutical compounds and [...] Read more.
Agastache spp. are used as ornamental plants for their pleasant aroma and the different colors of flowers. Nowadays, their edible flowers have become attractive for their nutraceutical properties. Post-harvest treatment appears as a crucial point to avoid impairment of the nutraceutical compounds and aroma, so different treatments were tested to analyze their effect on the bioactive metabolites and volatilome. Results indicated that freeze-drying was the best solution to prolong the shelf life of these flowers. The use of high temperatures (50, 60, 70 °C) led to altered the composition of antioxidant compounds (phenolic compounds, flavonoids, anthocyanins, carotenoids). Air-drying at 30 °C was a reasonable method, even though time consuming. Concerning the aroma profile, all samples were dominated by oxygenated monoterpene compounds. Pulegone was the main or one of the major constituents of all samples together with p-menthone. Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry results showed a correlation between the temperature and the number of identified compounds. Both fresh and freeze-dried samples evidenced a lesser number (10 and 19, respectively); when the temperature raised, the number of identified constituents increased. Statistical analyses highlighted significant differences between almost all aromatic compounds, even if both Principal Component and Hierarchical Cluster analyses differed at 60 and 70 °C and from the other treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutritional and Antioxidant Value of Horticulturae Products)
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Article
Nutraceutical Content and Daily Value Contribution of Sweet Potato Accessions for the European Market
Horticulturae 2021, 7(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7020023 - 30 Jan 2021
Viewed by 881
Abstract
Sweet potatoes (SPs) are considered by the FAO as a primary crop for “traditional agriculture” in the tropics, but in Europe, its consumption is not widespread. However, consumer demand has grown exponentially over the past five years. This study has evaluated the quality [...] Read more.
Sweet potatoes (SPs) are considered by the FAO as a primary crop for “traditional agriculture” in the tropics, but in Europe, its consumption is not widespread. However, consumer demand has grown exponentially over the past five years. This study has evaluated the quality and nutrient contents of storage roots of 29 SPs accessions to characterize their role in improving the human diet. Roots were analyzed for nutraceuticals, sugars, and minerals. Results underlined a considerable variability of nutrient content related to color among SPs accessions. The deep-orange-fleshed SPs showed a higher content of β-carotene compared to the light orange- and cream-fleshed ones; 100 g of edible product of HON86 can supply 32.3% of the daily value contribution of vitamin A, followed by the pale orange-fleshed BRA32 and BRA54. The total phenolic content of the purple ecotypes was about two to five times higher than the other genotypes. The calcium content was generally low, whereas, in many accessions, magnesium and phosphorus content reached 20%, or higher of the contribution to the daily value. Such a high variability suggests different use of the different accessions according to their strengths, but might also be used for breeding to improve quality traits of the commercial varieties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutritional and Antioxidant Value of Horticulturae Products)
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Article
Effect of Drying Methods on Phenolic Compounds and Antioxidant Activity of Urtica dioica L. Leaves
Horticulturae 2021, 7(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7010010 - 19 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1238
Abstract
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a plant well known in traditional medicine for its many beneficial properties, but the lack of standardization regarding the product to offer to consumers limits its diffusion. To this end, drying appears to be a useful [...] Read more.
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a plant well known in traditional medicine for its many beneficial properties, but the lack of standardization regarding the product to offer to consumers limits its diffusion. To this end, drying appears to be a useful technique to offer a low-cost product that can be stored for long time, but the different drying procedures may give rise to end-products of very different quality as nutraceutical and antioxidant compounds. Nettle leaves have been dehydrated employing freeze-drying (FD), oven-drying (OD) or heat pump drying (HPD) and compared with fresh leaves following water extraction to emulate the use by final consumers. Results indicate that the best dehydration technique is HPD, which apparently gives rise to more than a doubling of total phenols and antioxidant activity in the extract compared to the water extract obtained from fresh leaves but a reduction in the level of ascorbic acid of about 39%. In addition, the content of some phenolic compounds is 10 to over a hundred times higher in the extract after HPD than that obtained from fresh samples. This confirms that the dehydration technique should be tuned in relation to the compounds of greatest interest or value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutritional and Antioxidant Value of Horticulturae Products)
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Article
Indices for the Assessment of Glycoalkaloids in Potato Tubers Based on Surface Color and Chlorophyll Content
Horticulturae 2020, 6(4), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae6040107 - 16 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 957
Abstract
Glycoalkaloids (GAs) are toxic to humans at higher concentrations. However, studies also suggest the health benefits of GAs depending on the dose and conditions of use. Methods that have been used to determine GA content in potato tubers are destructive and time-consuming and [...] Read more.
Glycoalkaloids (GAs) are toxic to humans at higher concentrations. However, studies also suggest the health benefits of GAs depending on the dose and conditions of use. Methods that have been used to determine GA content in potato tubers are destructive and time-consuming and require skilled personnel and high-performance laboratory equipment. We conducted this study to develop indices for the prediction of the level of total GAs in potato tubers at different greening stages based on surface color readings and chlorophyll (Chl) development. Color values (Hunter L*, a*, b*, a*/b*), Chls (Chl a, Chl b, and total Chls) and GA (α-solanine, α-chaconine, and total GAs) content were measured from tubers of ‘Atlantic’ and ‘Trent’ potato cultivars at three-week intervals in up to six greening stages during the storage at room conditions (22 °C, 12-h shift of light-dark cycles). The results have revealed that greening, Chls, and GA content significantly increased for the two cultivars as the stage proceeded. The toxic level of GAs (>200 mg kg−1 FW) was accumulated at the late greening stages, accompanied by the highest Chl content. Finally, indices were developed based on surface color and Chl content for estimation of the safe GA levels for the consumption of the two commercially and commonly used potato cultivars. Moreover, the developed indices could be used as basic information to adapt to other potato cultivars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutritional and Antioxidant Value of Horticulturae Products)
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