Cardoon flower extract is a traditional and exclusive rennet used for some PDO cheeses in several Mediterranean regions, due its extremely high concentration in cardosins. In this preliminary study, six individual cardoon genotypes (1M‐6M) were selected because they revealed a wide and consistent diversity of total and specific cardosin concentrations in flowers. During three growing seasons the stability of twelve biochemical characteristics of flower extracts and twenty‐six plant morphological descriptors was confirmed. Surprisingly, the cardosin profiles of each genotype, based on four main groups A0, A1, A and B, were stable during the annual flower harvesting period and over all three years using ion‐exchange chromatography and native‐PAGE electrophoresis. This knowledge will allow an improvement in the quality and standardization of cardosin profiles from cardoon flowers used for cheese production and other innovative applications. The results obtained are promising for development of a plant breeding program based on biochemical and morphological characteristics in order to obtain the most adapted plant architecture for combined purposes related to specific cardosins composition, flower and plant biomass production, and ease of harvesting.
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.