About this Research Topic
Flowers have been a part of daily human lives socially, culturally, and as ritual symbols since historical times. In terms of consumption, they have been present as main ingredients in meals and as garnishes in many cultures, particularly in Asia and the West. Whilst flowers can be eaten as food, there is an ongoing interest on their importance as a nutritious component of a healthy diet, as well as research investigations on their bioactive potential and health benefits. Many exotic flowers such as curcuma, marigold, rose and cape jasmine are known for their antioxidative, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties. Many have also been claimed to reduce the risk of developing some chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and age-related eye diseases.
A major floral by-product is pollen, and humans have incorporated this by-product into cultural cuisines for centuries. Methodologies exist to ‘extract’ pollen from honey bees as they return from foraging trips. Massive amounts of pollen are collected for two primary uses: 1) as a supplemental protein source for bees themselves and 2) as a nutritional supplement for humans primarily distributed via health food retailers. Pollen collected by honey bees is reported to be rich in various nutrients (such as carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids, lipids, phenolic compounds, vitamins and minerals) and some bioactive ingredients possessing antioxidative properties. Therefore, in the present day many bee pollen products have been formulated in the form of granules, tablets, candy bars, oral liquids and tonics for human consumption. However much more research is needed that specifically addresses the nutritional composition of various pollen sources, as the pollen from any individual plant species will contain a unique blend of nutritional components (such as carbohydrates, protein, amino acids, lipids et alia).
This Research Topic would therefore like to serve as the collective platform, on research relating to the nutritional composition and therapeutic effects of edible flowers and their by-products, such as pollen. We welcome original research, data reports, hypothesis and theory and review articles that focus on (but are not limiting to) the following themes:
- Ethnobotany study of native or local edible flowers
- Phytochemical and toxicity analyses of the edible flowers and by-products including extraction and qualitative and quantitative analysis
- Bioactive and medicinal potentials of edible flowers
- Exploring new sources of nutraceuticals from flowers and their by-products
- Development of novel food and pharmaceutical products from edible flowers and their by-products (and consumer acceptance)
Keywords: Bioactive Compounds, Floral Compositions, Nectar, Pollen, Human Diseases
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