Fresh and dried figs are important components of the Mediterranean diet. In Cilento (Southern Italy), figs belonging to cultivar "Dottato" are used for the production of "PDO Cilento white figs," as dried figs. In this article, we reported the characterization of the phenolic compounds in 19 fig samples: 9 fresh figs cultivar "Dottato" from Cilento (Italy), 10 dried fig samples from Cilento (2), Turkey (6), and Greece (2). The following phenolic compounds were identified and quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)/UV-DAD: chlorogenic acid, protocatechuic acid, vanillic acid, luteolin-3,7-di-O-glucoside, luteolin 7-glucoside, apigenin-7-O-rutinoside, rutin, quercetin-3-glucoside, and cyanidin-3-O-rutinoside. A discriminative analysis between the peel and pulp of the samples was carried out. The 1st crop ("breba") and the 2nd one (full crop) from Dottato figs were considered, as well as the effect of fig pollination. The majority of the phenolic compounds were predominant in the fig peel. Significant quantitative differences were found among fresh figs, whereas also some qualitative differences were obtained between fresh and dried figs from the same origin in Dottato cultivar, and among dried figs from different origins. Breba crop resulted richer in phenolics than figs of the 2nd crop. Considering the dried figs, the Turkish ones had the highest concentration in phenolic compounds. Other compounds such as the aminoacids tyrosine and tryptophan were also detected by HPLC-DAD analysis in Dottato figs, probably due to the similarity of their chemical structure.
Practical application: The results of this research could be useful to deepen the knowledge about the phenolic composition of a fruit that is particularly appreciated in Mediterranean area and presents an increasing interest worldwide. We also characterized a typical Italian fig (Cilento Dottato) that has relevant economical importance in Southern Italy; thus, our work could be applied by producers and industries for the valorization of dried figs as high-quality products. From the consumer viewpoint, a comparison among dried figs from different origins found on the retail market has a huge significance to inform about what the market offers and what product is the richest one in polyphenol content.
Keywords: Dottato fig; Ficus carica L; HPLC-DAD; polyphenols; typicality.
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