Main content area

Nutritional values, metabolic profile and radical scavenging capacities of wild asparagus (A. acutifolius L.)

Ferrara, L., Dosi, R., Di Maro, A., Guida, V., Cefarelli, G., Pacifico, S., Mastellone, C., Fiorentino, A., Rosati, A., Parente, A.
Subtropical plant science 2011 v.24 no.3 pp. 326-333
Asparagus acutifolius, Asparagus officinalis, Mediterranean diet, antioxidant activity, arabinose, ascorbic acid, dry matter content, essential amino acids, fatty acid composition, folic acid, free radical scavengers, fructose, galactose, glucose, hexoses, mannose, metabolomics, new crops, niche markets, nitric oxide, nutritive value, palmitic acid, pentoses, phenols, proteins, ribose, water content, xylose, Mediterranean region
Wild asparagus, Asparagus acutifolius L., produces edible spears used in local diets of Mediterranean countries for millenia. Recently, interest has risen for its cultivation as frugal crop for niche markets, but only limited information exists on the nutritional values of this vegetable. In this paper, the nutritional values and metabolic profile (i.e. moisture content, total proteins, lipids and phenols, folic and ascorbic acids, ribose, arabinose, xylose, fructose, mannose, glucose, galactose, total and free aminoacids, and fatty acid composition) and radical scavenging capacities of spears of A. acutifolius from the Caserta area (southern Italy) were compared to those of the cultivated Asparagus officinalis L. On a fresh weight basis, proteins (4.83 vs. 3.62g/100g), essential amino acids (184.08 vs. 78.13mg/100g) and lipids (0.90 vs. 0.33g/100g) were higher in wild asparagus. Among the fatty acids, the two essential n-6 linoleic and n-3 alpha-linolenic, and palmitic acids were the most abundant in both species, representing about 90% of the total acids analysed. A. acutifolius contained comparable amounts of pentoses such as ribose (0.13 vs. 0.15g/100g) and xylose (0.17 vs. 0.14g/100g), and hexoses such as galactose (0.21 vs. 0.19g/100g) and fructose (0.17 vs. 0.17g/100g), lower arabinose (0.27 vs. 0.39g/100g) and higher mannose (0. 90 vs. 0.49g/100g) and glucose (2.52 vs. 1.21g/100g) content, compared to A. officinalis. Folic acid was lower in A. acutifolius (47.5 vs. 80.6μg), while ascorbic acid was more than fivefold higher (117 vs. 23mg/100g). Phenolic compounds were more abundant in A. acutifolius spears (41.97 vs. 27.62mg/100g) as was the radical scavenging activity against DPPH radical and nitric oxide. A. acutifolius appears nutritionally interesting for its high content in dry matter, proteins, lipids, phenols and for its strong antioxidant properties, raising interest for this potential new crop.