Topic Review
Cannabis sativa L.
Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is an ancient, widespread, multipurpose crop cultivated all over the world, all parts of which can be potentially usable for the production of many different commodities with industrial interest. It is one of the oldest cultivated crops and until the first half of the 1900s, it was widely grown essentially as a fibre crop. Declining the demand for natural fibre consequential to the upper hand of synthetic fibre, and competition from other plant fibre sources led to reduce the demand for hemp. In addition, the use of some narcotic strains containing high and unhealthy level (>0.3%) of the only one psychoactive substance, namely the cannabinoid delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), led to the crop's prohibition during much of the 20th century. The clarification of the genetics and the biosynthetic pathway of the cannabinoids has been essential to identify three main different genotypes and the related chemical phenotypes of hemp plants, differing in the content of the two main hemp cannabinoids, THC and cannabidiol (CBD). Among these, the chemical phenotype commonly named "industrial hemp" includes hemp varieties which contain <0.3% or 0.2% of THC level that makes them unsuitable for narcotic purposes, but very useful for many other industrial applications. Therefore, from a legislative point of view, the main western countries such as United States, Canada, and European Union after a prohibition period, from the last decade of 1900s, have reintroduced and restored the industrial hemp cultivation.  
  • 2344
  • 10 Jul 2020
Topic Review
Fiber Crops
Fibers are everywhere around us and they are essential materials supporting our daily lives. Most fibers that we use in our daily activities are derived from fiber crops. In this entry, we introduce how fibers are classified, describe the main fiber crops in the world, and summarize their distributions and main usages by humans.
  • 2342
  • 01 Jul 2020
Topic Review
Brassicaceae Family
Brassicaceae family vegetables have an ample worldwide distribution, which can be found in all continents except Antarctica. One of the most striking features of this botanical family is the presence of several kinds of secondary metabolites with a distinctive taste, and also interesting bioactivities. The most deeply studied are the glucosinolates (GSL) and from their bioactive breakdown products, the isothiocyanates and the indoles. Moreover, these species are also rich and possess unique profiles of phenolic compounds, carotenoids, and other groups of less studied compounds such as phytoalexins, terpenes, phytosteroids, and tocopherols, here reviewed.
  • 2224
  • 29 Oct 2020
Topic Review
Anti-COVID-19 potential of Clove phytochemicals
The current COronaVIrus Disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection is enormously affecting the worldwide health and economy. In the wait for an effective global immunization, the development of a specific therapeutic protocol to treat COVID-19 patients is clearly necessary as a short-term solution of the problem. Drug repurposing and herbal medicine represent two of the most explored strategies for an anti-COVID-19 drug discovery. Clove (Syzygium aromaticum L.) is a well-known culinary spice that has been used for centuries in folk medicine in many disorders. Interestingly, traditional medicines have used clove since ancient times to treat respiratory ailments, whilst clove ingredients show antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Other interesting features are the clove antithrombotic, immunostimulatory, and antibacterial effects.
  • 1898
  • 13 May 2021
Topic Review
Cocoa Shell
The positive impact of cocoa shell on nutritional value of food was emphasized, such as increase of fiber content, enrichment with polyphenols, positive impact on glucose metabolism. However, potential shortcomings, such as mycotoxins, PAHs, and microbial contamination are also discussed.
  • 1750
  • 28 Oct 2020
Topic Review
Citrus limon (Lemon) Phenomenon
Citrus limon (lemon) is a species with valuable pharmaceutical, cosmetic and culinary (healthy food) properties. The valuable biological activity of C. limon is determined by its high content of phenolic compounds, mainly flavonoids (e.g., diosmin, hesperidin, limocitrin) and phenolic acids (e.g., ferulic, synapic, p-hydroxybenzoic acids). The essential oil is rich in bioactive monoterpenoids such as D-limonene, β-pinene, γ-terpinene. Recently scientifically proven therapeutic activities of C. limon include anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anticancer and antiparasitic activities. In view of beneficial properties C. limon  is also used in the food industry and cosmetology. Attention should be pay on safety of use and potential phototoxicity of this raw materials.
  • 1736
  • 30 Oct 2020
Topic Review
Biostimulants Application in Horticultural Crops under Abiotic Stress Conditions
Abiotic stresses strongly affect plant growth, development, and quality of production; final crop yield can be really compromised if stress occurs in plants’ most sensitive phenological phases. Additionally, the increase of crop stress tolerance through genetic improvements requires long breeding programmes and different cultivation environments for crop performance validation. Biostimulants have been proposed as agronomic tools to counteract abiotic stress. Indeed, these products containing bioactive molecules have a beneficial effect on plants and improve their capability to face adverse environmental conditions, acting on primary or secondary metabolism. Many companies are investing in new biostimulant products development and in the identification of the most effective bioactive molecules contained in different kinds of extracts, able to elicit specific plant responses against abiotic stresses. Most of these compounds are unknown and their characterization in term of composition is almost impossible; therefore, they could be classified on the basis of their role in plants. Biostimulants have been generally applied to high-value crops like fruits and vegetables; thus, in this review, we examine and summarise literature on their use on vegetable crops, focusing on their application to counteract the most common environmental stresses.
  • 1573
  • 29 Oct 2020
Topic Review
Role of Chloroplast Gene Expression
 Chloroplasts are plant organelles that carry out photosynthesis, produce various metabolites, and sense changes in the external environment. Given their endosymbiotic origin, chloroplasts have retained independent genomes and gene-expression machinery. Most genes from the prokaryotic ancestors of chloroplasts were transferred into the nucleus over the course of evolution. However, the importance of chloroplast gene expression in environmental stress responses have recently become more apparent. Here, we discuss the emerging roles of the distinct chloroplast gene expression processes in plant responses to environmental stresses. For example, the transcription and translation of psbA play an important role in high-light stress responses. A better understanding of the connection between chloroplast gene expression and environmental stress responses is crucial for breeding stress-tolerant crops better able to cope with the rapidly changing environment. Chloroplasts are plant organelles that carry out photosynthesis, produce various metabolites, and sense changes in the external environment. Given their endosymbiotic origin, chloroplasts have retained independent genomes and gene-expression machinery. Most genes from the prokaryotic ancestors of chloroplasts were transferred into the nucleus over the course of evolution. However, the importance of chloroplast gene expression in environmental stress responses have recently become more apparent.
  • 1452
  • 02 Sep 2020
Topic Review
Genetic Use Restriction Technologies
Genetic use restriction technologies (GURTs), developed to secure return on investments through protection of plant varieties, are among the most controversial and opposed genetic engineering biotechnologies as they are perceived as a tool to force farmers to depend on multinational corporations’ seed monopolies.  This led to a de facto global moratorium on this technology, which is still far from being withdrawn.
  • 1006
  • 30 Oct 2020
Topic Review
Autophagic Body Formation in Plants
This article is associated with the MDPI International Journal of Molecular Sciences article, which belongs to a Special Issue Plant Cell and Organism Development, “Completing Autophagy: Formation and Degradation of the Autophagic Body and Metabolite Salvage in Plants” by Szymon Stefaniak1, Łukasz Wojtyla1, Małgorzata Pietrowska-Borek2, Sławomir Borek1,* The article has been published on https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21062205, Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(6), 2205. The work was financed by the National Science Centre, Poland (grant no. 2016/23/B/NZ3/00735).
  • 968
  • 29 Oct 2020
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