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Crenate broomrape (Orobanche crenata Forskal): prospects as a food product for human nutrition
- Renna, Massimiliano, Serio, Francesco, Santamaria, Pietro
- Genetic resources and crop evolution 2015 v.62 no.5 pp. 795-802
- Orobanche crenata, antioxidant activity, basins, consumer demand, crops, ethnobotany, fiber content, human nutrition, legumes, nutrient content, parasitic plants, polyphenols, processed foods, traditional medicine, vegetables, verbascoside
- Crenate broomrape is a parasitic plant, which can cause serious damage to the production of legume crops in much of the Mediterranean basin. However, some authors have reported its use as a food or in folk medicine, but the only information available on crenate broomrape potential as a valuable resource for human nutrition and not just as a pest is scarce and fragmented. This note contains some biological, historical, ethnobotanical and gastronomical knowledge, as well as describing the nutritional traits of Orobanche crenata, with the aim of evaluating whether this species has potential as a fresh or processed food product. Current knowledge suggests that crenate broomrape could be a refined food with interesting nutritional traits (i.e. high fibre content, good antioxidant capacity and presence of polyphenols such as verbascoside). Nevertheless, some aspects of O. crenata need to be better understood, such as its detailed nutritional composition or post-harvest strategies for preserving its quality and boosting consumer demand. Therefore, further research should be carried out in order to characterize this vegetable resource with a view to commercial exploitation.