A new insight on cardoon: Exploring new uses besides cheese making with a view to zero waste

Cássia H. Barbosa, Mariana A. Andrade, Fernanda Vilarinho, Isabel Castanheira, Ana Luísa Fernando, Monica Rosa Loizzo, Ana Sanches Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


Cardoon, Cynara cardunculus L., is a perennial plant whose flowers are used as vegetal rennet in cheese making. Cardoon is native from the Mediterranean area and is commonly used in the preparation of salads and soup dishes. Nowadays, cardoon is also being exploited for the production of energy, generating large amount of wastes, mainly leaves. These wastes are rich in bioactive compounds with important health benefits. The aim of this review is to highlight the main properties of cardoon leaves according to the current research and to explore its potential uses in different sectors, namely the food industry. Cardoon leaves are recognized to have potential health benefits. In fact, some studies indicated that cardoon leaves could have diuretic, hepato-protective, choleretic, hypocholesterolemic, anti-carcinogenic, and antibacterial properties. Most of these properties are due to excellent polyphenol profiles, with interesting antioxidant and antimicrobial activities. These findings indicate that cardoon leaves can have new potential uses in different sectors, such as cosmetics and the food industry; in particular, they can be used for the preparation of extracts to incorporate into active food packaging. In the future, these new uses of cardoon leaves will allow for zero waste of this crop.

Original languageEnglish
Article number564
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2020


  • Antimicrobial activity
  • Antioxidant activity
  • By-products
  • Cardoon leaves
  • Cynara cardunculus L


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