Valorisation of fruits and seeds of rockrose (Cistus ladanifer L.) for human and animal feed

The species Cistus ladanifer L., commonly known as rockrose (in portuguese as esteva), has three subspecies recognised: ladanifer, sulcatus and africanus. The first two are found in Portugal – while the subspecies sulcatus is restricted to the Costa Vicentina, the subspecies ladanifer can be found through all the Portuguese territory.

Further south in Portugal mainland, the dense rockrose population is the fifth most dominant forest typology, occupying 249,382 ha which represents 7.5 % of the forest area, besides being also present within the four most dominant forest typologies that represent about 48.9 % of the total forest area.

Currently, its economic exploitation in Portugal is not conspicuous. Some approaches are being performed with the extraction of its essential oils and resin (called labdanum), mainly to be used in the perfume industry.

In recent years, research has been done over to present several other possible uses of this plant resource along with its integrated management. The use of herbaceous biomass for animal feed, the use of woody biomass for energy enhancement and the use of secondary metabolites for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic sectors are the ones that stand out.

Nevertheless, the fruits of C. ladanifer are in a considerable number when grown in communities after 3 years, when flowering period is more prominent. These fruits are woody capsules containing about 1000 small polyhedral seeds (1 mm). Usually, the capsules begin to open and release the seeds in mid-summer. There is scarce information about this structure.

According to ethnobotanical studies, in some Spanish provinces, human consumption of these seeds was a reality with no indication of their unsafe use. The seeds used to be consumed raw, with a nutlike flavour, or used as flour to make bread and bake cakes.

The main goals of this project are as follows:

      1. Evaluation of the seeds nutritional profile for human consumption;
      2. Evaluation of the capsules nutritional profile (seedless) for animal feed;
      3. Innovation and development of a food product containing seed flour.

Team: David Franco Frazão (UTAD/CBPBI); Fernanda Delgado (IPCB); António Moitinho Rodrigues (IPCB); Fátima Peres (IPCB): Inês Pitacas (IPCB); Celina Barroca (IPCB); Luisa Paulo (CATAA); Christophe Espírito Santo (CATAA).
Research line (RL=LI): LI4- Valorização sustentável dos recursos genéticos endógenos naturais selecionados; LI5 – Caracterização do potencial de inovação dos recursos genéticos endógenos naturais.
Godinho-Ferreira P, Azevedo A, Rego F 2005. Carta da Tipologia Florestal de Portugal Continental. Silva Lusitana 13 (1): 1-34 (URL: 16-09-2020)
· Frazão, D.F., Raimundo, J.R., Domingues, J.L., Quintela-Sabarís, C., Gonçalves, J.C., Delgado, F., 2017. Cistus ladanifer (Cistaceae): a natural resource in Mediterranean-type ecosystems. Planta, 1-12.
· Raimundo, J.R., Frazão, D.F., Domingues, J.L., Quintela-Sabarís, C., Dentinho, T.P., Anjos, O., Alves, M., Delgado, F., 2018. Neglected Mediterranean plant species are valuable resources: the example of Cistus ladanifer. Planta, 1-14
· Gonzáles JA, Vallejo JR, Amisch F (2018) Cistus ladanifer L. In de Santayana MP, Morales R., Tardío J., Molina M (eds): Inventario Español de los Conocimientos Tradicionales Relativos a la Biodiversidad. Fase II (Tomo 2). Ministerio de Agricultura y Pesca, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente (MAPAMA), Spain.

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