Special Issue "Botany of Food Plants"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Nutrition".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Riccardo Motti
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, Via Università 100, 80055, Portici (Naples), Italy
Interests: botany; systematic botany; floras; alien species invasions; ethnobotany; biodeterioration of historical and archaeological buildings
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The number of known edible plant species across the world is approximately 30,000, but only 7000 have been either cultivated or collected as food. Nevertheless, currently, only 30 species provide for 95% of the world’s food requirements. The decrease of food diversity could lead to negative effects in human health, food security, and food sovereignty. Therefore, expanding the diversity of food produced, distributed, and consumed is one of the major challenges of planetary nutrition for the coming years. In this scenario, knowledge about the state of biodiversity available in local food systems becomes crucial for the improvement of dietary tools and for the development of new ones. Wild food plants may play a relevant role in human health and wellbeing, and adopting a food-based dietary diversity strategy could lead to social, cultural, economic, and environmental benefits. Moreover, wild plants are identified as functional foods and consumed because they have a clear positive influence on health as extraordinary sources of nutraceutical substances. Therefore, knowing processing techniques and nutritional composition of wild food plants is as important as making an inventory of species. Last but not least, the implications of knowledge and management of the wild food plants for the conservation strategies of vegetation resources at local and regional levels are also pivotal.

In this Special Issue, articles (original research papers, perspectives, hypotheses, opinions, reviews) that focus on wild edible plant diversity, phytochemical characterizations, sensory and nutritional values, metabolomics, traditional knowledge, ethnogastronomy, sustainable food production, and taxonomy are most welcome.

Prof. Dr. Riccardo Motti
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • wild vegetables
  • functional food
  • ethnobotany
  • ethnogastronomy
  • biodiversity of food plants
  • phytochemistry of food plants
  • metabolomics
  • sensory analysis

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Design a Database of Italian Vascular Alimurgic Flora (AlimurgITA): Preliminary Results
Plants 2021, 10(4), 743; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10040743 - 10 Apr 2021
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Abstract
Despite the large number of data published in Italy on WEPs, there is no database providing a complete knowledge framework. Hence the need to design a database of the Italian alimurgic flora: AlimurgITA. Only strictly alimurgic taxa were chosen, excluding casual alien and [...] Read more.
Despite the large number of data published in Italy on WEPs, there is no database providing a complete knowledge framework. Hence the need to design a database of the Italian alimurgic flora: AlimurgITA. Only strictly alimurgic taxa were chosen, excluding casual alien and cultivated ones. The collected data come from an archive of 358 texts (books and scientific articles) from 1918 to date, chosen with appropriate criteria. For each taxon, the part of the plant used, the method of use, the chorotype, the biological form and the regional distribution in Italy were considered. The 1103 taxa of edible flora already entered in the database equal 13.09% of Italian flora. The most widespread family is that of the Asteraceae (20.22%); the most widely used taxa are Cichorium intybus and Borago officinalis. The not homogeneous regional distribution of WEPs (maximum in the south and minimum in the north) has been interpreted. Texts published reached its peak during the 2001–2010 decade. A database for Italian WEPs is important to have a synthesis and to represent the richness and complexity of this knowledge, also in light of its potential for cultural enhancement, as well as its applications for the agri-food system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Botany of Food Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
Proximate Analyses and Amino Acid Composition of Selected Wild Indigenous Fruits of Southern Africa
Plants 2021, 10(4), 721; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10040721 - 08 Apr 2021
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Abstract
A literature survey revealed that several wild indigenous Southern African fruits had previously not been evaluated for their proximate and amino acid composition, as well as the total energy value (caloric value). Fourteen species including Carissa macrocarpa, Carpobrotus edulis, Dovyalis caffra [...] Read more.
A literature survey revealed that several wild indigenous Southern African fruits had previously not been evaluated for their proximate and amino acid composition, as well as the total energy value (caloric value). Fourteen species including Carissa macrocarpa, Carpobrotus edulis, Dovyalis caffra, Halleria lucida, Manilkara mochisia, Pappea capensis, Phoenix reclinata, and Syzygium guineense were analyzed in this study. The nutritional values for several species such as C. edulis, H. lucida, P. reclinata, and M. mochisia are being reported here for the first time. The following fruits had the highest proximate values: C. macrocarpa (ash at 20.42 mg/100 g), S. guineense (fat at 7.75 mg/100 g), P. reclinata (fiber at 29.89 mg/100 g), and H. lucida (protein at 6.98 mg/100 g and carbohydrates at 36.98 mg/100 g). Essential amino acids such as histidine, isoleucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, and valine were reported in all studied indigenous fruits. The high protein content in H. lucida was exhibited by the highest amino acid quantities for histidine. However, the fruits are a poor source of proteins since the content is lower than the recommended daily intake. The jacket-plum (Pappea capensis), on the other hand, meets and exceeds the required daily intake of lysine (0.0003 g/100 g or 13 mg/kg) recommended by the World Health Organization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Botany of Food Plants)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Wild Plants Used as Herbs and Spices in Italy: An Ethnobotanical Review
Plants 2021, 10(3), 563; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10030563 - 16 Mar 2021
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Abstract
Wild edible plants are an essential component of people’s diets in the Mediterranean basin. In Italy, ethnobotanical surveys have received increasing attention in the past two centuries, with some of these studies focusing on wild edible plants. In this regard, the literature in [...] Read more.
Wild edible plants are an essential component of people’s diets in the Mediterranean basin. In Italy, ethnobotanical surveys have received increasing attention in the past two centuries, with some of these studies focusing on wild edible plants. In this regard, the literature in Italy lacks the coverage of some major issues focusing on plants used as herbs and spices. I searched national journals for articles on the use of wild food plants in Italy, published from 1963 to 2020. Aims of the present review were to document plant lore regarding wild herbs and spices in Italy, identify the wild plants most frequently used as spices, analyze the distribution of wild herbs and spices used at a national scale, and finally, to describe the most common phytochemical compounds present in wild plant species. Based on the 34 studies reviewed, I documented 78 wild taxa as being used in Italy as herbs or spices. The studies I included in this systematic review demonstrate that wild species used as herbs and spices enrich Italian folk cuisine and can represent an important resource for profitable, integrated local small-scale activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Botany of Food Plants)
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