Lipophilic antioxidants in edible weeds from agricultural areas


Abstract: The present paper reports the contents of individual lipophilic antioxidants in fourteen species of edible common agricultural weeds, typical of agricultural areas such as fields and orchards. Young edible green aboveground parts of weeds were analyzed for their chlorophyll, carotenoid, and tocopherol qualitative profiles and contents. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the complete lipophilic antioxidant composition of the edible weeds examined in this study. The results revealed that all examined leafy plant species are good sources of lipophilic antioxidants, the richest source being Urtica dioica (255.64 mg 100 $g^{-1}$ fwt), followed by Cardamine hirsuta (159.85 mg 100 $g^{-1}$ fwt), Cichorium intybus (150.87 mg 100 $g^{-1}$ fwt), Aegopodium podagraria (146.07 mg 100 $g^{-1}$ fwt), Taraxacum officinale (123.35 mg 100 $g^{-1}$ fwt), and Capsella bursa-pastoris (117.59 mg 100 $g^{-1}$ fwt), all with higher or similar contents compared to spinach (138.72 mg 100 $g^{-1}$ fwt), proving the value of these weeds for nutrition. The shoot vegetable Humulus lupulus had the lowest lipophilic antioxidant content (22.98 mg 100 $g^{-1}$ fwt), but this was still 3.8-fold higher than that of cultivated lettuce. Although all weeds examined in our study are valuable sources of health-promoting lipophilic antioxidants, comparison with cultivated spinach revealed that the general belief that all wild edible greens are richer in lipophilic antioxidants than cultivated leafy vegetables is not valid.

Keywords: Edible weeds, wild vegetables, chlorophyll, carotenoid, tocopherol, lipophilic antioxidant

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