Sea fennel is an herbaceous aromatic and edible halophyte, naturally occurring in coastal areas of the Mediterranean basin. Besides its scientific interest as a salt-tolerant species it exhibits considerable nutritional value and economical potential. As sea fennel is distributed in maritime areas, where natural iodine is available in high concentrations, the aim of this study was to evaluate whether sea fennel has the potential to accumulate elevated iodine concentrations under cultivation. A biofortification experiment in a hydroponic system applying two forms of iodine, KI and KIO3 in different concentrations was set up and monitored using sophisticated targeted elementary and metabolite analysis. The biofortification potential and possible effects on nutritional value were investigated. This study revealed that both iodine forms increased the iodine content of sea fennel tissues. Nutritional and health promoting components, biomass production but also antioxidant potential were stable or even improved under the iodine treatments.
Keywords: Biofortification; Carotenoids; Crithmum maritimum; Iodine; Polyphenols.
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