This study was designed to examine the effect of provenance on the phytochemical and antioxidant properties of essential oil and methanolic extract from Tunisian and French fennel seeds (FFS). Analysis of the essential oil showed that although the same main compounds were found in Tunisian and FFS cultivars, some differences were present in their proportions allowing to classify them in two chemotypes. The first class was composed by trans-anethole (63.41%-78.26%) for Tunisian cultivars and the second one by estragole (44.72%-88.92%) for French cultivars. The phenolic composition of all fennel seed extracts was characterized by its richness in quinic acid, 4-O-caffeoylquinic acid, p-coumaric acid, and 4-O-caffeoylquinic acid. All fennel seed extracts showed a better antioxidant potential than their essential oils depending on the origin. Principal component analysis showed a dispersion of the cultivars on three groups depending on the chemotype diversity. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: Recently, much attention has been focused on fennel due to the nutritional and health-protective value of their seeds. Several studies have highlighted the importance of fennel seed extracts and essential oils as key ingredients rich in bioactive compounds serving in formulation of new functional food products. This investigation designed to examine the effect of provenance on phytochemical and antioxidant potentials of Tunisian and French fennel seed extracts and essential oils.
Keywords: Foeniculum vulgare Mill.; antioxidant activity; essential oil; geographic origin; methanol extract; phenolic compounds.
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