In the past, it was not easy to extract inulin from root chicory. The latex of chicory contains large amounts of sesquiterpene lactones, which interfere with the extraction of inulin. For the other part of this project, CHIC’s objective is to identify biological activities of interest for these sesquiterpene lactones and to hopefully increase their production by using new plant breeding technologies.
Scientists and researchers are finding other ways to solve this problem. Bioactivity assays were identified as having one promising sesquiterpene lactone with anti-inflammatory activity and extracts containing antimicrobial activity. This resulted in identifying responsible substances.
Using transcriptome data and the newly sequenced genome, candidate genes for the biosynthesis of the sesquiterpene lactones and the formation of the laticifers have been identified and have also been functionally characterized. More importantly, several chicory lines were produced using new plant breeding technologies. This resulted in some showing accumulations of sesquiterpene lactones with anti-inflammatory activity, while others have reduced laticifer and sesquiterpene lactone content, which could be useful for inulin extraction.
Check out Work Package 3 video –
Work Package Leader
Prof. Dr. Alain Tissier, WP3 Coordinator
Implementation of NPBT in Chicory for Bioactive Terpenes