Turkish Journal of Agriculture and Forestry




Knowledge about the forage yield potential and bioactive compound contents of Mediterranean natural populations of chicory is still scarce, even though it could be very helpful in view of the exploitation of the feeding value of local chicory germplasm for ruminants. Dry matter yield, chemical composition, antioxidant capacity, total polyphenols, flavonoids, and condensed tannins content were determined in 7 natural populations of Mediterranean wild chicory and, as a comparison, in the chicory commercial variety Spadona. Original seed was collected in different pastureland areas of Sardinia (Italy) and plants were grown in North Sardinia. Statistically significant differences were found in the leaf dry matter yield, ranging from 1.3 to 3.8 t ha^{-1}, and were not found in protein and fiber contents. The local populations were comparable to the commercial variety; however, the antioxidant activities, detected by means of 2 in vitro assays, significantly differed between populations. Among bioactive compounds, total flavonoids ranged from 27 to 37 g catechin equivalent kg^{-1} dry weight and statistically significant differences were also found in total polyphenol content and nontannic polyphenols; condensed tannins were not detected. Considering the importance of some bioactive compounds for the enhancement of animal nutrition and welfare, the exploitation of variability in bioactive compound content and antioxidant capacity of the chicory natural populations can be important for a more complete valorization of its Mediterranean germplasm.


Chicory, dry matter yield, forage quality, natural populations, Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity

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