Perspectives and utilization technologies of chicory (Cichorium intybus L.): A review
Exploring and developing multiple utility technologies of plant resources is an alternative way for improving the efficiency of land used for food and fuel production. Chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) has a nutritional quality comparable to lucerne as it contains similar proportions of protein, lipid, minerals and other nutrients. Based on its chemical and biological activities, this research work evaluated and overviewed recent advances in utilization technologies and studies of chicory. It focuses on the biochemical compositions and physiological bioactivities of extractives from chicory and clearly states the promising potential utility technologies of the plant: Curative effect as a forage or vegetable with good digestibility, use of chicory in confectionery products and beverages, potential use in discovering new effective medicine and the development of new salubrious functional foods, additives and other profitable green bioproducts. However, a significant research gap still remains in these pharmacological actions and discoveries, and as such, the utilization of the health benefits of this plant should be put into practice. Thus, future research needs to be done in order to gain a better understanding and to further elucidate mechanisms of chicory and its extractives that are rationally suggested.
Key words: Chicory, biochemical composition, pharmacological activities, utilization technologies.