Insights into the phenolic composition and in vitro bioactivity of cardoon capitulum: A nutraceutical-oriented valorization study uri icon


  • The authors are grateful to the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT, Portugal) for financial support through national funds FCT/MCTES (PIDDAC) to CIMO (UIDB/00690/2020 and UIDP/00690/ 2020) and SusTEC (LA/P/0007/2020), for the F. Mandim PhD grant (SFRH/BD/146614/2019), and the J. Pinela (CEECIND/01001/2018) and M.I. Dias and L. Barros contracts through individual and institutional scientific employment program contracts. The authors are also grateful to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia (451-03-68/2022-14/200007). GIP-USAL was funded by Junta de Castilla y Léon (Spain) through Project SA093P20 and the Strategic Research Program for Units of Excellence (ref. CLU-2018-04).
  • The capitulum constituents (stigma, corolla, bracts, pappus, and receptacle) of seven cardoon cultivars were studied for their polyphenolic composition and bioactive properties. Fifteen phenolic compounds were identified, secoiridoid, secoxyloganin, and apigenin-O-hexuronoside in higher concentrations. The bracts had the highest concentration of phenolic compounds, and the corolla had the greatest variety. The corolla of F4-1-4 and F1-34-1 cultivars, and bracts of F1-1-1, F1-19-4, and F4-37-1 cultivars revealed the greatest capacity to inhibit the thiobarbituric acid reactive substances formation (IC50 of 38 and 40.4 μg/mL, respectively). The corolla of F1-34-1 cultivar showed higher antihaemolytic activity than the positive control Trolox (IC50 5.5 vs. 20 μg/mL). Bracts of the F4-25-2 cultivar showed higher cytotoxic activity. No hepatotoxicity or anti-inflammatory effects were presented by the studied samples. These bioactivities exhibit a significative correlation with phenolic compounds, in particular flavonoids. Antimicrobial capacity was also observed, with all samples presenting higher antifungal potential than positive controls.

publication date

  • March 1, 2024