Affiliations: [a] Department of Crop Plant Biology, University of Pisa, Viale delle Piagge 23, 56124 Pisa, Italy. e-mail: [email protected]
| [b] Institute of Biology and Agrobiotechnology, CNR, UOS Pisa, Via del Borghetto 80, 56124 Pisa, Italy
Abstract: Globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus L. Fiori) is a traditional component of the Mediterranean diet. Artichoke edible parts are one of the richest dietary sources of polyphenols with high bioavailability, and contain also high-quality inulin, fibres and minerals. Moreover, pharmaceutical artichoke leaf extracts show hypocholesterolemic and choleretic properties. Several clinical studies have shown that the bioactive properties of globe artichoke are due to the high content of polyphenolic compounds in flower heads and leaves, in particular hydroxycinnamates and flavonoids. The total antioxidant capacity of artichoke flower heads is one of the highest reported for vegetables, and is strictly related to their polyphenolic content. Different agronomic variables, such as mycorrhizal inoculation, may affect plant secondary metabolism, and in particular the production of metabolites with health-promoting activities. Our recent data showed large increases of total phenolic content and antioxidant activity in leaves and flower heads of mycorrhizal artichoke plants.