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Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 58, Issue 3, pp 1–10 | Cite as

Taraxacum officinale as a food source

  • N.L. Escudero
  • M.L. De Arellano
  • S. Fernández
  • G. Albarracín
  • S. Mucciarelli
Article

Abstract

Considering the lack of studies of the leaves of Taraxacum officinale Weber (dandelion) justifying its use as food, the present study was done to emphasize the nutritional level. The chemical composition for 100 g of dry matter was: proteins 15.48 g; ash 14.55 g; and total dietary fiber 47.80 g. Ca determination yielded a value of 695 mg and P determination yielded a value of 700 mg. The 50.74% of the unsaturated fatty acids corresponds to linolenic acid. The sample was evaluated biologically to find out the protein quality of the leaves. The following results were obtained: net protein utilization (NPU) 23, true digestibility (tD) 53, biological value (BV) 43, average food intake (I) 57 g, weight gain (ΔP) −10 g . Weight loss can be related to the demonstrated diuretic effect of Taraxacum officinale Weber and the light laxative effect which together with the presence of an important quantity of fiber could be responsible for the fecal volume increase. The antinutrients under study were not of health risk. An acceptable protein contribution together with important amounts of dietary fiber and potassium, as well as an adequate Ca/P ratio, 1:1, approximately, that matches the levels suggested by the Recommended Dietary Allowances are emphasized by the researchers. The essential fatty acid contribution was remarkable, specially in linolenic acid. The wellknown pharmacological effects, together with the low toxicity, suggested by other authors, make this underutilized plant a good candidate for use as food source. The results of this study indicate a nutritive potential for Taraxacum officinale leaves; therefore, use in fresh salad is encouraged along with the local promotion and production of underexploited autochthonous plants, as suggested by the FAO, with the purpose of improving the nutritional condition of areas of population with poor economic resources.

Antinutrients Chemical composition Nutritive value Plant leaves Taraxacum officinale 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • N.L. Escudero
    • 1
  • M.L. De Arellano
    • 1
  • S. Fernández
    • 1
  • G. Albarracín
    • 1
  • S. Mucciarelli
    • 1
  1. 1.Facultad de Química, Bioquímica y FarmaciaUniversidad Nacional de San LuisSan LuisArgentina

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