Polyphenol compounds, particularly caffeoylquinic acids and flavonoids, were measured in different tissues and developmental stages of 6 artichoke varietal types diffused in the Mediterranean region. Flower heads were subdivided into external, intermediate, internal bracts, and receptacle, while leaves were collected at the vegetative and productive stages. The main polyphenols detected were chlorogenic acid, cynarin, luteolin 7-O-rutinoside, and luteolin 7-O-glucoside. "Violet de Provence" artichoke proved to retain the highest content of total phenols. Single polyphenols accumulated preferentially in specific parts of capitula. In leaves, most polyphenols were detected in the productive stage of the plant. Altogether, results provide useful indications for the promotion of artichoke as nutraceutical food and for the extraction of health-promoting substances in particular tissues/stages of the artichoke plant.
Practical application: We describe the content of phenolic compounds in various artichoke tissues, developmental stages, and varieties. Results indicate that artichoke leaves represent an important source of these health-promoting compounds, also useful for phytopharmaceutical applications. A wider utilization of specific artichoke types should be strongly encouraged not only as a food for the fresh market, as they are now used, but also for the pharmaceutical industry, since the content of phenolic compounds is abundant both in the heads and in the leaves.
© 2012 Institute of Food Technologists®