Wild edible plant species are often more tolerant to salinity than many crop plants. Considering the salinization of irrigation water that is progressively affecting the Mediterranean region and the market demand for new plant foods, the cultivation of wild edible species could represent a valid alternative to conventional vegetable crops.
In this study, Reichardia picroides (L.) Roth, a widespread spontaneous herb of ethnobotanical tradition, was grown for four or six weeks in a greenhouse in a floating system for the production of baby leaves. In order to improve the nutraceutical quality of the tissues, the plants were exposed to the following NaCl concentrations in the nutrient solution: 1.7 (control), 25, 50, and 100 mM.
The results showed that a 4-week growing period in a floating system with 50 mM NaCl in the nutrient solution increased the content of bioactive molecules without affecting the fresh yield. After six weeks of cultivation, despite a decrease in biomass production as compared with the control, the leaves of salt-treated plants contained higher levels of bioactive molecules along with lower amounts of the nitrate ion.
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Maggini, Rita & Benvenuti, Stefano & Leoni, Federico & Incrocci, Luca & Pardossi, Alberto. (2021). Effects of NaCl on Hydroponic Cultivation of Reichardia picroides (L.) Roth. Agronomy. 11. 2352. 10.3390/agronomy11112352.