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Ethnofoods (traditional foods); are defined as foods originating from the heritage and culture of an ethnic group who use their knowledge of local plants and animal sources. They are unexploited and underutilized foods by the wider community worldwide and come from different Centres of Biodiversity. These ...

Ethnofoods (traditional foods); are defined as foods originating from the heritage and culture of an ethnic group who use their knowledge of local plants and animal sources. They are unexploited and underutilized foods by the wider community worldwide and come from different Centres of Biodiversity. These ethno plant food harbours many bioactive molecules of nutritional and health relevance. Currently close to 1 billion people suffer from hunger and food insecurity worldwide. Although global food production of calories has kept pace with population growth, people consume low-quality diets that cause micronutrient deficiencies and contribute to chronic diseases. It is reported that of the 6,000 plant species that have been cultivated for food, 9 account for 66% of total crop production. Fewer than 200 make, major contributions to food production globally, regionally or nationally. There is an urgent need to diversify our diets with ethno plant foods. Rapid climate change demands new crops that are climate resonant and ethno crops are potential candidates.

Ethnofoods consumed by indigenous populations globally form an integral component of the unexploited foods from the Centres of Biodiversity. These ethno plant foods including fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, yams, herbs and spices are rich sources of micronutrients (vitamins and trace elements), therefore, there is a need to develop strategies to include these food crops in nutrition intervention programmes globally to combat hidden hunger and provide nutrition and food security. Also, due to the occurrence of vitamins, trace elements, antioxidants and important dietary phytochemicals, diet diversification with ethno plant foods is a sustainable and affordable strategy. However, information on anti-nutritive compounds in ethno plant foods is limited. The presence of anti-nutritive compounds can inhibit the optimum utilization of nutrients such as proteins, minerals and vitamins present in the food. Processing technologies or general cooking practices have been found to reduce the concentration of anti-nutritive compounds.

This Research Topic is focused on looking at ethno plant foods from Centres of Biodiversity (Africa, Asia and Australia, North and Central America, South America, Europe and Central Asia) with bioactive components of nutritional and health value. The aim of this Research Topic is to highlight the importance of incorporating such ethno plant foods in the diet not only to provide nutrition and health but also to demonstrate the possibility of developing sustainable food systems that will lead to equity in food availability, affordability and nutrition especially for vulnerable populations.

Manuscripts of interest will discuss:
• Ethno plant foods with a high nutrient density and health promotion properties;
• Chemistry of bioactive constituents in ethno plant foods;
• Bioaccessibility and bioavailability of nutrient and bioactive compounds from ethno plant foods and their potential impact on the gut microbiome “gut health”;
• Sustainable ethno plant food production systems using traditional knowledge in combination with new technologies;
• Novel clean and green food processing, preservation and packaging technologies leading to sustainable ethno plant food production;
• Ethno plant foods resilient to climate changes and their chemical and nutritional composition.

Keywords: bioactive compounds, biological properties, nutritional composition, vitamins, minerals, trace elements


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