In-vitro and in-vivo antioxidant assays of chicory plants (Cichorium intybus L.) as influenced by organic and conventional fertilisers.BMC Plant Biol. 2020 Jan 20; 20(1):36.BP
Chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) is a traditional European crop that is highly appreciated for its contents of bioactive compounds, especially phenolics, which have high antioxidant activities. Among other factors, agricultural practice might affect the contents of these bioactive compounds, which are also important from a nutritional point of view, and affect the shelf-life.
The antioxidant potential (AOP) of chicory plants treated with different fertilisers was investigated in vitro using DPPH radical scavenging and in vivo using the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Additionally, total phenolics content (TPC) was evaluated using Folin-Ciocalteu reagent, and total flavonoids content (TFC) using the aluminium chloride method. Four different chicory cultivars were included: 'Treviso', 'Verona' and 'Anivip' as red cultivars; and 'Castelfranco' as a red-spotted cultivar. These were grown in pots under controlled glasshouse conditions using organic and/or mineral fertilisers. The combination of organic and mineral fertilisers during red chicory growth resulted in significantly higher in-vitro and in-vivo AOPs compared to the control. For the red-spotted cultivar 'Castelfranco', this combined organic and mineral fertilisation decreased AOPs in vitro and increased AOPs in vivo. Among the cultivars examined, 'Castelfranco' treated with combined organic plus mineral fertilisers showed the highest AOP in vivo, accompanied by the lowest TPC and TFC.
These data show that application of different fertilisers has different impacts on red and red-spotted chicory cultivars in terms of TFC and TPC, which for red-spotted chicory resulted in different AOPs in vitro and in vivo. The in-vitro AOP is well reflected in the in-vivo AOP for the red chicory cultivars, but less so for the red-spotted cultivar 'Castelfranco'. Based on the in-vivo AOPs for these chicory cultivars analysed, the combined organic plus mineral fertiliser treatment is recommended.