Production of cardoon (Cynara cardunculus L. var. altilis) sprouts with high nutraceutical value: first results

V. Toscano, C. Genovese, A. Putrino, G.D. Puglia, M. Venticinque, S.A. Raccuia
The first use of sprouts as food dates back to ancient times and is documented in eastern countries since 3000 BC. Nowadays, different varieties of legume seedlings for fresh consumption are commonly available on the market and commercially considered ready-to-eat food. The increase of interest in the alimentary use of sprouts is mainly due to the great nutraceutical value that sprouts provide thanks to their high content of antioxidant compounds. It is well-known that cardoon plants are rich in these compounds - mainly polyphenols, which make these plant species important functional foods, but the dietary consumption of their sprouts is still not spread. The aim of this work is to evaluate the potential use of domestic cardoon (Cynara cardunculus var. altilis) for the production of sprouts with a high content of biologically active compounds suitable for dietary consumption. To this purpose, two different tests have been carried out: in the first one, the seeds were germinated on filter paper in Petri dishes; in the second one, the seeds were germinated on cotton wool and in grids suspended on water in order to create a pilot plant prototype. For both trials, the experiments have been conducted using three different salt stress conditions: 0.0 mM of NaCl (control); 60 mM of NaCl (-0.3 MPa); 120 mM of NaCl (-0.6 MPa). The fresh and dry weight yield, the total phenols content and the antioxidant activity have been determined from the sprouts obtained. Overall, this study's results show the possibility of producing cardoon seedlings for human consumption and that the content of biologically active molecules present in these sprouts can be increased by exploiting the natural tolerance of domestic cardoon for the salt stress.
Toscano, V., Genovese, C., Putrino, A., Puglia, G.D., Venticinque, M. and Raccuia, S.A. (2020). Production of cardoon (Cynara cardunculus L. var. altilis) sprouts with high nutraceutical value: first results. Acta Hortic. 1284, 241-248
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1284.32
Cynara cardunculus L. var. altilis, salt stress, human consumption, biologically active compounds

Acta Horticulturae