Wageningen University & Research:

Science creates chicory plants without bitter compounds

Dutch researchers have used new breeding techniques to develop a chicory variety that no longer contains bitter compounds. Plant researcher at Katarina Cankar from Wageningen University & Research says: “In the European CHIC project, we are working on improved industrial chicory varieties (related to witloof) that contain dietary fibre and compounds that have potential medicinal properties.”

Chicory taproots are a source of inulin, a natural sweetener that is used in bread and dairy products and as dietary fibre for healthy intestinal function. “Inulin has a positive effect on the digestive health,” says Katarina Cankar. “Normally, inulin must be separated from the bitter compounds (that are also in the root) as they cause a bitter taste. With new breeding techniques such as CRISPR-Cas, we have been able to develop a plant that no longer contains those bitter compounds. This will make the processing cheaper and easier, and in turn more sustainable, and will make a broader application of inulin possible.”

Source: wur.nl


Photo source: Dreamstime.com


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