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Valorization of waste and by-products from globe artichoke and recovery of inulin, a prebiotic with endless benefits
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1  Department of Environmental Biology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
Academic Editor: Alfredo Berzal-Herranz (registering DOI)

Globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) is a well-known medicinal plant belonging to Asteraceae family, widely cultivated also as food in the Mediterranean region. The immature inflorescence (head) is the edible part of the plant. Every year, the globe artichoke processing industry generates around 60-80% of waste and by-products (WBPs) that are still rich in metabolites. The recovery of value-added biomass creates an opportunity for recycling resources to the circular economy. The aim of this study is to valorize WBP from C. scolymus cv “Romanesco” harvested in the central regions of Italy. In particular, we focused our attention on inulin, a fructo-oligosaccharide that works as a prebiotic, due to the regulation of intestinal microbiota via stimulating the growth of beneficial bacteria. Moreover, inulin has other useful effects on human health. Indeed, it improves lipid metabolism, promotes weight loss, lowers blood sugar, etc. WBPs were extracted by using green extraction technologies obtaining a rich-inulin solid analyzed by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), thin-layer chromatography (TLC) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR).

Keywords: Cynara scolymus L./globe artichoke/inulin/fructo-oligosaccharide/prebiotic/circular economy