Evaluation of morphological traits and chemical compounds of chicory (Cichorium intybus) populations in central Iran (Markazi province)

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Medicinal Plants, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Arak University, Arak, Iran


Chicory has a wide range of uses in the pharmaceutical and food industries owing to its valuable bioactive compounds such as phenolic acids, terpenoids, vitamins, and inulin. The presence and content of these compounds are influenced by genetic and environmental factors, as well as the processing method. The present research aimed to evaluate the morphological and biochemical characteristics of wild chicory populations from the Markazi province, Iran. The essential oil was extracted through the distillation technique using Clevenger-type apparatus. GC and GC/MS were used to identify the compounds of the essential oil, and a spectrophotometer was used to determine the amount of inulin. The results showed high and significant diversity between populations for the measured traits. The maximum and minimum variations were observed for the plant height and branch weight, respectively. Significant correlations were observed between different traits. The yield and composition of essential oil in the studied populations showed considerable variation. The main components of the essential oil were chamazulene, 1,8-cineole, carvacrol, cuminic aldehyde, thymol, cinnamic aldehyde, camphor, borneol, linalool, and carvone. Cluster analysis separated the populations into two different groups based on morphological traits and chemical components of essential oils. In conclusion, the existence of considerable diversity in morphological traits and chemical compounds among the chicory populations can be useful in the breeding programs of this plant.


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