Research Topic

Minor and Underutilized Aromatic and Spice Crops: Genetic, Epigenetic and Metabolic Aspects

About this Research Topic

Modern agricultural systems are usually based on the cultivation of a very limited number of crop species, relegating many crops to a marginal role. Agricultural species that are not among the major staple crops are referred as minor or neglected and underutilized species (NUS). These crops have been frequently ignored for agronomic, genetic, economic and social reasons by research, extension services and policy makers. Despite of this, minor crops can play a vital role in diversifying food production, by adding new species to our diet. In addition to diversifying nutritional intake, these crops can provide economic and environmental benefits and they are receiving increasing recognition because of their potential role in mitigating risk in agricultural production systems due to their adaptability to low input agriculture and adverse environments.

Another interesting aspect of NUS is that, thanks to their genetic constitution and metabolic composition, they can originate derived products having an extremely high added value. Many neglected and underutilized crops have been used as plant derived products primarily used for flavoring, coloring, or preserving food but also in traditional medicine and rituals and for the production of cosmetics.

This Research Topic aims to increase the current knowledge on genetics, epigenetics and metabolic aspects of minor, neglected or underutilized crops, specifically spices and aromatic plants, which is a fundamental step in order to add value to these crops, especially for cultivation in marginal areas, supporting food production and diversification, increasing agriculture resilience and sustainability, potentially producing high added value products as spices, medicines and cosmetics.

Plants of interest are spices and aromatics plants include the following:
- Saffron, vanilla, garlic, chili pepper, rosemary, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric.

Topics of interest include the following:
- Discovery of useful genes and markers for adaptation and breeding purposes;
- Discovery of useful epialleles for adaptation and breeding purposes;
- Discovery of functional genes involved in plant stress responses;
- Genetic, epigenetic and metabolic characterization in response to environmental stress conditions.

Descriptive studies, including those using omics approaches, will not be considered for review unless they address further insights into genetic and epigenetic functional aspects of minor and neglected crops.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Modern agricultural systems are usually based on the cultivation of a very limited number of crop species, relegating many crops to a marginal role. Agricultural species that are not among the major staple crops are referred as minor or neglected and underutilized species (NUS). These crops have been frequently ignored for agronomic, genetic, economic and social reasons by research, extension services and policy makers. Despite of this, minor crops can play a vital role in diversifying food production, by adding new species to our diet. In addition to diversifying nutritional intake, these crops can provide economic and environmental benefits and they are receiving increasing recognition because of their potential role in mitigating risk in agricultural production systems due to their adaptability to low input agriculture and adverse environments.

Another interesting aspect of NUS is that, thanks to their genetic constitution and metabolic composition, they can originate derived products having an extremely high added value. Many neglected and underutilized crops have been used as plant derived products primarily used for flavoring, coloring, or preserving food but also in traditional medicine and rituals and for the production of cosmetics.

This Research Topic aims to increase the current knowledge on genetics, epigenetics and metabolic aspects of minor, neglected or underutilized crops, specifically spices and aromatic plants, which is a fundamental step in order to add value to these crops, especially for cultivation in marginal areas, supporting food production and diversification, increasing agriculture resilience and sustainability, potentially producing high added value products as spices, medicines and cosmetics.

Plants of interest are spices and aromatics plants include the following:
- Saffron, vanilla, garlic, chili pepper, rosemary, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric.

Topics of interest include the following:
- Discovery of useful genes and markers for adaptation and breeding purposes;
- Discovery of useful epialleles for adaptation and breeding purposes;
- Discovery of functional genes involved in plant stress responses;
- Genetic, epigenetic and metabolic characterization in response to environmental stress conditions.

Descriptive studies, including those using omics approaches, will not be considered for review unless they address further insights into genetic and epigenetic functional aspects of minor and neglected crops.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 June 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 June 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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