Special Issue "Bioprospecting of Neglected and Underutilized Wild Plants for Nutritional and Ethnomedicinal Significance"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Nutrition".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 July 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Purushothaman Chirakkuzhyil Abhilash
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Institute of Environment & Sustainable Development, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi 221005, UP, India
Interests: climate-resilient agriculture; food security; sustainable agriculture; agrobiodiversity; agricultural sustainability; indigenous and local knowledge (ILK); wild crops
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Rodomiro Ortiz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Plant Breeding, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Sundvagen, Sweden
Interests: genetics; plant breeding; genetic resources; agrobiodiversity; food security
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Milan S. Stankovic
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Science, University of Kragujevac, Str. Radoja Domanovića No. 12, 34000 Kragujevac, Serbia
Interests: plant biology and ecology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Othmane Merah
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
1. Laboratoire de Chimie Agro-industrielle, LCA, Université de Toulouse, INRA, F 31030 Toulouse, France
2. Département génie Biologique, IUT A, Université Paul Sabatier, 31077 Toulouse, France
Interests: plant physiology; plant breeding; abiotic stress; bioactive accumulation; essential oils; biofertilizers; cereals; oilseed crop; legumes; vegetables
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Providing a healthy and balanced diet for a growing population is a global sustainability challenge. Unfortunately, the current human diet across the world is not planet-healthy, as it is majorly depends on nonplant-based and high-carbon intensive agricultural practices. Therefore, it is imperative to double the consumption of plant-based food, especially the use of wild, neglected, and underutilized plants having nutritional and medicinal importance, such as wild leafy vegetables (including red, orange, and green leafy vegetables), wild fruits, wild flowers, wild seeds, and wild tubers to attain three of the UN Sustainable Development Goals viz. ‘no poverty’, ‘zero hunger’, and ‘good health and wellbeing’. Although there are thousands of wild and neglected plant species which are reported to have nutritional and medicinal significance from various parts of the world, the lion’s share are neglected and yet to be utilized for a planet-healthy diet. Therefore, contemporary food production solely depends on a handful of plant species, and there are limited options for dietary diversification and also for exploiting their medicinal and ethnobotanical applications for health and nutritional benefits. In this backdrop, the current Special Issue on “Bioprospecting of Neglected and Underutilized Wild Plants for Nutritional and Ethnomedicinal Significance” aims to encourage the bioprospecting of neglected and underutilized wild plants from various agroclimatic regions of the world for dietary diversification and also to explore their ethnomedicinal importance for a good quality of life and human wellbeing in resource-poor nations.

Prof. Dr. Purushothaman Chirakkuzhyil Abhilash
Prof. Rodomiro Ortiz
Prof. Dr. Milan S. Stankovic
Prof. Dr. Othmane Merah
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Agrobiodiversity
  • Analytical advances for bioprospecting
  • Balanced diet
  • Bioactive compounds from wild plants
  • Bioprospecting of wild plants
  • Culinary food from wild plants
  • Dietary diversification
  • ethnobotany of wild plants
  • Ethnopharmaceuticals from wild plants
  • Food security
  • Medicinal uses of wild plants
  • Neglected plants
  • Nutritional security
  • Planet healthy diet
  • Traditional knowledge
  • Value-added products from wild plants
  • Wild plants
  • Yet-to-be-used plants

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Ethnomedicinal Plants Used in the Health Care System: Survey of the Mid Hills of Solan District, Himachal Pradesh, India
Plants 2021, 10(9), 1842; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/plants10091842 - 05 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 844
Abstract
The study was performed in the mid hills of the Dharampur region in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh, India. At the study site, a total of 115 medicinal plants were documented (38 trees, 37 herbs, 34 shrubs, 5 climbers, 1 fern, and 1 [...] Read more.
The study was performed in the mid hills of the Dharampur region in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh, India. At the study site, a total of 115 medicinal plants were documented (38 trees, 37 herbs, 34 shrubs, 5 climbers, 1 fern, and 1 grass). In the study region, extensive field surveys were performed between March 2020 and August 2021. Indigenous knowledge of wild medicinal plants was collected through questionnaires, discussions, and personal interviews during field trips. Plants with their correct nomenclature were arranged by botanical name, family, common name, habitat, parts used, routes used, and diseases treated. In the present study, the predominant family was Rosaceae, which represented the maximum number of plant species, 10, followed by Asteraceae and Lamiaceae, which represented 8 plant species. The rural inhabitants of the Dharampur region in the Solan district have been using local plants for primary health care and the treatment of various diseases for a longer time. However, information related to the traditional knowledge of medicinal plants was not documented. The rural inhabitants of the Dharampur region reported that the new generation is not so interested in traditional knowledge of medicinal plants due to modernization in society, so there is an urgent need to document ethnomedicinal plants before such knowledge becomes inaccessible and extinct. Full article
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Article
Dual-Purpose of the Winged Bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus (L.) DC.), the Neglected Tropical Legume, Based on Pod and Tuber Yields
Plants 2021, 10(8), 1746; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/plants10081746 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 721
Abstract
Winged beans (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus (L.) DC.) are grown as a vegetable legume crop in Thailand. All parts of the plant, including pods, seeds, leaves, flowers, and tubers are edible and are rich in protein and nutrients. Although the major consumption of winged [...] Read more.
Winged beans (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus (L.) DC.) are grown as a vegetable legume crop in Thailand. All parts of the plant, including pods, seeds, leaves, flowers, and tubers are edible and are rich in protein and nutrients. Although the major consumption of winged bean is based on pod and tuber yields, only the people of Myanmar and Indonesia utilize winged bean tubers as food materials. The usefulness of the winged bean as an alternative crop for staple food and feed can shed some light on the impact of winged bean. Therefore, the evaluation of the dual purpose of the winged bean based on pod tuber yields is the objective of this study. In this study, ten-winged bean accessions—six accessions obtained from introduced sources and four accessions obtained from local Thai varieties—were laid out in randomized complete block design (RCBD) with three replications at the Agronomy Field Crop Station, Faculty of Agriculture, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand from September 2019 to April 2020 and from October 2020 to April 2021. Data, including total pod weight, number of pods, pod length, 10-pod weight, and tuber weight were recorded, and the proximate nutrient and mineral contents in the tubers were also determined. The results revealed that the principal effects of year (Y) and genotype (G) were significant for total pod weight and the number of pods. Moreover, the Y × G interactions were principal effects upon the total pod weights and tuber weights. The results indicated that superior genotype and appropriate environmental conditions are key elements in successful winged bean production for both pod and tuber yields. The winged bean accessions W099 and W018 were consistent in both experimental years for pod and tuber yields at 23.6 and 18.36 T/ha and 15.20 and 15.5 T/ha, respectively. Each accession also proved high in tuber protein content at 20.92% and 21.04%, respectively, as well as significant in fiber, energy, and minerals. The results suggest that the winged bean accessions W099 and W018 can be used for dual-purpose winged bean production in Thailand. Full article
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Article
Evaluation of Nutritional, Phytochemical, and Mineral Composition of Selected Medicinal Plants for Therapeutic Uses from Cold Desert of Western Himalaya
Plants 2021, 10(7), 1429; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/plants10071429 - 13 Jul 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1055
Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine the elemental and nutritive values of leaf parts of 10 selected wild medicinal plants, Acer pictum, Acer caecium, Betula utilis, Oxalis corniculata, Euphorbia pilosa, Heracleum lanatum, Urtica dioica, Berberis lycium, Berberis asiaticaand, and [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to determine the elemental and nutritive values of leaf parts of 10 selected wild medicinal plants, Acer pictum, Acer caecium, Betula utilis, Oxalis corniculata, Euphorbia pilosa, Heracleum lanatum, Urtica dioica, Berberis lycium, Berberis asiaticaand, and Quercus ilex, collected from the high hills of the Chitkul range in district Kinnaur, Western Himalaya. The nutritional characteristics of medicinal plant species were analyzed by using muffle furnace and micro-Kjeldahl methods, and the mineral content in plants was analyzed through atomic absorption spectrometry. The highest percentage of used value was reported in Betula utilis (0.42) and the lowest in Quercus ilex (0.17). In this study, it was found that new generations are not much interested in traditional knowledge of ethnomedicinal plants due to modernization in society. Therefore, there is an urgent need to document ethnomedicinal plants along with their phytochemical and minerals analysis in study sites. It was found that rural people in western Himalaya are dependent on wild medicinal plants, and certain steps must be taken to conserve these plants from extinction in the cold desert of Himalayan region. They are an alternative source of medicine because they contain saponin, alkaloid, and flavonoid etc. as well as minerals. The leaves used for analysis possesses good mineral content, such as Na, N, K, P, Zn, Fe, Cu, Mn, Ca, Mg, and S. Hence, in the current study it was observed that medicinal plants are not only used for therapeutic purposes, but they can also be used as nutritional supplements. Full article
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Article
Phenolic Composition, Antioxidant Capacity and Antibacterial Activity of White Wormwood (Artemisia herba-alba)
Plants 2021, 10(1), 164; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/plants10010164 - 16 Jan 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1827
Abstract
Artemisia herba-alba Asso. (Wormwood) is a wild aromatic herb that is popular for its healing and medicinal effects and has been used in conventional as well as modern medicine. This research aimed at the extraction, identification, and quantification of phenolic compounds in the [...] Read more.
Artemisia herba-alba Asso. (Wormwood) is a wild aromatic herb that is popular for its healing and medicinal effects and has been used in conventional as well as modern medicine. This research aimed at the extraction, identification, and quantification of phenolic compounds in the aerial parts of wormwood using Soxhlet extraction, as well as characterizing their antimicrobial and anitoxidant effects. The phenolic compounds were identified in different extracts by column chromatography, thin layer chromatography (TLC), and high performance liquid chromatography. Five different fractions, two from ethyl acetate extraction and three from ethanolic extraction were obtained and evaluated further. The antimicrobial activity of each fractions was evaluated against two Gram-positive (Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus) and two Gram-negative microorganisms (Escherichia coli and Proteus vulgaris) using the disc-diffusion assay and direct TLC bioautography assay. Fraction I inhibited B. cereus and P. vulgaris, Fraction II inhibited B. cereus and E. coli, Fraction III inhibited all, except for P. vulgaris, while Fractions IV and V did not exhibit strong antimicrobial effects. Their antioxidant capabilities were also measured by calculating their ability to scavenge the free radical using DPPH method and the ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assay. Ethanolic fractions III and V demonstrated excellent antioxidant properties with IC50 values less than 15.0 μg/mL, while other fractions also had IC50 values less than 80.0 μg/mL. These antioxidant effects were highly associated with the number of phenolic hydroxyl group on the phenolics they contained. These extracts demonstrated antimicrobial effects, suggesting the different phenolic compounds in these extracts had specific inhibitory effects on the growth of each bacteria. The results of this study suggested that the A. herba-alba can be a source of phenolic compounds with natural antimicrobial and antioxidant properties which can be used for potential pharmaceutical applications. Full article
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Article
Nutritional Content and Antioxidant Capacity of the Seed and the Epicarp in Different Ecotypes of Pistacia atlantica Desf. Subsp. atlantica
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1065; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/plants9091065 - 19 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1257
Abstract
Phenolic compounds are secondary metabolites that occur naturally in all plants. Seeds are among the richest organs of plants in phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. These compounds and their biological activities are of great importance for human health. This study aimed to analyze the [...] Read more.
Phenolic compounds are secondary metabolites that occur naturally in all plants. Seeds are among the richest organs of plants in phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. These compounds and their biological activities are of great importance for human health. This study aimed to analyze the phenolic composition and their antioxidant activity in the seeds and epicarps of six Algerian populations of Pistacia atlantica Desf. subsp. atlantica growing along an aridity gradient from semi-arid to Saharan environmental conditions. Higher phenolic contents were observed in epicarp compared to seeds whatever the ecotype. The highest phenolic content of seeds and epicarps was observed in ecotype of Djelfa and the lowest values in Tiaret (T-Z). Phenolic composition, measured by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), showed that quercetin in epicarp, gallic and chlorogenic acids in seeds were the most present in all ecotypes. Large differences were observed between ecotypes for nutritional values. Seeds were rich in flavonoids, proteins, carbohydrates and essential elements such as potassium, calcium, phosphorus and iron. These results highlighted the potential importance of Atlas pistachio fruits as a source of essential compounds that contribute to human health. Moreover, this underused species may serve a potential source for antioxidant components for alimentation and cosmetics purposes. Full article
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Review

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Review
A Review on Medicinal Plants Used in the Management of Headache in Africa
Plants 2021, 10(10), 2038; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/plants10102038 - 28 Sep 2021
Viewed by 376
Abstract
The use of medicinal plants in the management of diverse ailments is entrenched in the culture of indigenous people in African communities. This review provides a critical appraisal of the ethnobotanical uses of medicinal plants for the management of headache in Africa. Research [...] Read more.
The use of medicinal plants in the management of diverse ailments is entrenched in the culture of indigenous people in African communities. This review provides a critical appraisal of the ethnobotanical uses of medicinal plants for the management of headache in Africa. Research articles published from 2010 (Jan) to 2021 (July) with keywords such as Africa, ethnobotany, headache, medicinal plant and traditional medicine were assessed for eligibility based on sets of pre-defined criteria. A total of 117 plants, representing 56 families, were documented from the 87 eligible studies. Asteraceae (10%), Fabaceae (10%), Lamiaceae (9%) and Mimosaceae (5%) were the most represented plant families. The most popular plant species used in the management of headache were Ocimum gratissimum L. (n = 7), Allium sativum L. (n = 3), Ricinus communis L. (n = 3) and Artemisia afra Jack. ex. Wild (n = 2). The leaves (49%), roots (20%) and bark (12%) were the most common plant parts used. Decoction (40%) and infusion (16%) were the preferred methods of preparation, whereas the oral route (52%) was the most preferred route of administration. The data revealed that medicinal plants continue to play vital roles in the management of headache in African communities. In an attempt to fully explore the benefits from the therapeutic potential of indigenous flora for common ailments, further studies are essential to generate empirical evidence on their efficacies, using appropriate test systems/models. This approach may assist with the ongoing drive towards the integration of African traditional medicine within mainstream healthcare systems. Full article
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Review
Psophocarpus tetragonolobus: An Underused Species with Multiple Potential Uses
Plants 2020, 9(12), 1730; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/plants9121730 - 08 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 913
Abstract
Natural products, particularly those extracted from plants, have been used as therapy for different diseases for thousands of years. The first written records on the plants used in natural medicine, referred to as “medicinal plants”, go back to about 2600 BC. A thorough [...] Read more.
Natural products, particularly those extracted from plants, have been used as therapy for different diseases for thousands of years. The first written records on the plants used in natural medicine, referred to as “medicinal plants”, go back to about 2600 BC. A thorough and complete understanding of medicinal plants encompasses a multiplex of overlapping and integrated sciences such as botany, pharmacognosy, chemistry, enzymology and genetics. Psophocarpus tetragonolobus, a member of Fabaceae family also called winged bean, is a perennial herbaceous plant characterized by its tuberous roots and its winged pod twinning and a perennial legume rich in proteins, oils, vitamins and carbohydrates. Besides nutrients, winged bean also contains bioactive compounds that have therapeutic activities like anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, antibacterial, antifungal, antiproliferative and cytotoxic activity, a few of which already been reported. This plant can also be used as a medicinal plant for future benefits. With this concept in mind, the present review is designed to shed the light on the interests in the various phytochemicals and pharmacological pharmacognostical aspects of Psophocarpus tetragonolobus. Full article
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