Patterns of Traditional and Modern Uses of Wild Edible Native Plants of Chile: Challenges and Future Perspectives

Leon-Lobos, Pedro; Diaz-Forestier, Javiera; Diaz, Rodrigo; Celis-Diez, Juan L.; Diazgranados, Mauricio; Ulian, Tiziana


Wild Edible Plants (WEPs) still play a vital role in the subsistence of many traditional communities, while they are receiving increasing recognition in tackling food security and nutrition at the international level. This paper reviews the use patterns of native WEPs in Chile and discusses their role as future crops and sources of food products. We conducted an extensive literature review by assessing their taxonomic diversity, life forms, consumption and preparation methods, types of use (traditional and modern), and nutritional properties. We found that 330 native species were documented as food plants, which represent 7.8% of the total flora of Chile. These species belong to 196 genera and 84 families. The most diverse families are Asteraceae (34), Cactaceae (21), Fabaceae (21), Solanaceae (20) and Apiaceae (19), and the richest genera in terms of number of species are Solanum (9), Ribes (8), Berberis (7), Hypochaeris (7) and Oxalis (6). Perennial herbs are the predominant life form (40%), followed by shrubs (35%), trees (14%), and annual and biannual herbs (11%). Fruits (35.8%), roots (21.5%) and leaves (20.0%) are the parts of plants consumed the most. Nine different food preparation categories were identified, with 'raw' forming the largest group (43%), followed by 'beverages' (27%), 'savoury preparations' (27%), and 'sweet' (13%). Almost all native Chilean WEPs have reported traditional food uses, while only a few of them have contemporary uses, with food products mainly sold in local and specialised markets. Species' richness, taxonomic diversity and family representation have similar patterns to those observed for the world flora and other countries where surveys have been carried out. Some Chilean native WEPs have the potential to become new crops and important sources of nutritious and healthy products in the food industry. However, there are still many gaps in knowledge about their nutritional, anti-nutritional and biochemical characteristics; future research is recommended to unveil their properties and potential uses in agriculture and the food industry.

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Título según WOS: ID WOS:000776418900001 Not found in local WOS DB
Título de la Revista: PLANTS-BASEL
Volumen: 11
Número: 6
Editorial: MDPI
Fecha de publicación: 2022


Notas: ISI