Cynara cardunculus subsp. cardunculus, belonging to Asteraceae family, and widely distributed in the Mediterranean area, exhibits high nutraceutical and nutritional potential, as compared to the cultivated varieties. This work reports, for the first time, on genetic and metabolic characteristics of three natural populations of C. cardunculus present in the Pollino National Park (Calabria, Italy), referred to as wild cardoons, collected in different areas (Castrovillari, Trebisacce and Sibari). One wild and one cultivated sardinian genotypes were also analysed as comparison. Six nuSSRs markers, were used to assess population structure and diversity. The obtained results showed that all three populations genetically diverge from the cultivated one and cluster with sardinian wild populations. Moreover, PCoA and Bayesian clustering analyses evidenced that Trebisacce and Sibari populations were closer to each other compared to Castrovillari one. HPLC analysis, also revealed a metabolic profile particularly rich in phenolic acids for Sibari population which also exhibited the highest capacity to protect linoleic acid from peroxidation. To long-term, these results could be useful to preserve biodiversity and promote ecotypes with major nutraceutical proprieties.
Muto A.;Chiappetta A.;Araniti F.;Muzzalupo I.;Marrelli M.;Conforti F.;Schettino A.;Cozza R.;Bitonti M. B.
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