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International Archives of Medicine
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First determination of mineral composition of the leaf Chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) used in human nourishment in the Midwest of Brazil and comparasion with dietary reference intakes for children and adults

Introduction: Radicchio (Cichorium intybus L.) is a leaf chicory and is grown as a leaf vegetable which usually has white-veined red or purple leaves and it belongs to the Asteraceae family. In several countries is consumed mainly as salad, but no studies on their elemental composition  has been done, principally in Brazil.

Objective: The aim of present work was to measure the macroelements (Na, K, Ca, Mg and P) and microelements (Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Zn, Al, Cd, Ni, Co and Si) in the leaf Chicory used as human nourishment in the Campo Grande, State of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil.

Method: Chemical digests of samples were prepared using HNO3 and H2O2 and then placed in the microwave digestion system. After digestion, the concentrations of the elements in Leaf Chicory were determined by the technique of Inductively Coupled Plasma – Optical Emission Spectrometer (ICP–OES, Thermo Scientific – iCAP 6000 Series). Results obtained of the concentrations of leaf chicory were compared with the dietary reference intakes.

Results: Detected concentration of macroelements in leaf Chicory decreases in the order: K > P > Ca > Mg > Na. As well as the concentration of microelements decreases in the order: Fe > Al > Si > Mn > Zn > Cu > Cr > Ni > Cd > Mo > Co. Leaf Chicory is excellent source of K, Ca, Mg, P, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo and Zn for children and adults. On the other hand, leaf chicory is not considered a source of sodium for children and adults. Concentration of K, Cr, Fe, and Al are above the limit recommended limit by FAO/WHO (1984) and others countries.

Conclusions: Leaf Chicory has macro and microelements in ample amount; it can be used as an important part of people’s diets. Since it not exceed allowable limits set by WHO and FAO, RDA/AI and UL. Competent organs have not evaluated concentrations of elements as Al, Cd, Ni, Co and Si in order to establish a tolerable upper intake level or RDA/AI for human. The lack of studies of adverse effects following excess intake of a nutrient does not mean that adverse effects do not occur.

Keywords: Leaf Chicory; Radicchio; Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-OES).

from International Archives of Medicine
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