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Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 60, Issue 7, pp 1923–1943 | Cite as

Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana), a neglected medical and condiment species with a relevant glucosinolate profile: a review

  • Rosa Agneta
  • Christian Möllers
  • Anna Rita Rivelli
Review paper

Abstract

Armoracia rusticana (horseradish), a member of the Brassicaceae family, has been known since ancient times as a folk medicinal herb and as a plant of nutritional value and culinary interest. Currently horseradish is cultivated for its thick, fleshy and white roots which have a delicious intense pungency and for its tender leaves which are frequently used for salad mixed to other vegetables. The traditions to use horseradish plant for medicinal purpose are still applied in many countries. Horseradish is a rich source of a number of bioactive compounds such as glucosinolates (GLSs) and their breakdown products. Sinigrin is the dominant glucosinolate in both leaves and roots. Recent studies have shown that crude plant extracts have a complex profile of naturally occurring GLSs, with particular regard to sprouts. The increasing interest in these secondary metabolites, associated to the long and diffuse tradition of using horseradish in food preservation and as condiment in many parts of the world, is generating new applications of this plant in several agro-industrial and pharmaceutical sectors and is encouraging the use of its roots and leaves in functional food and medicine for human health. A bibliography review is discussed on ethnobotanical aspects and uses of this plant, as well as knowledge about its flavour compounds and GLS content and composition. This study summarizes also the updated information concerning the influence of the genotype and environment on GLS profile in horseradish.

Keywords

Brassicaceae Ethnobotany Ethnopharmacognosy Glucosinolates Horseradish Isothiocyanates 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to Mr. Vito Agneta for assistance in graphic design images and Prof. Ippolito Camele of the University of Basilicata for providing the images in Fig. 2. The authors are also thankful to the Editors of Economic Botany, Phytochemistry and Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry for: (1) the use of the Table 1; (2) the adapt of the Table 2—Copyright (1980) Elsevier Ltd and Table 3—Copyright (1979) Elsevier Ireland Ltd; (3) the permission to adapted Tables 4 and 5—Copyright (2004) American Chemical Society, respectively.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosa Agneta
    • 1
  • Christian Möllers
    • 2
  • Anna Rita Rivelli
    • 3
  1. 1.Doctoral School of Crop Systems, Forestry and Environmental SciencesUniversity of BasilicataPotenzaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Crop SciencesGeorg-August-Universität GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  3. 3.School of Agricultural, Forest, Food and Environmental SciencesUniversity of BasilicataPotenzaItaly

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