MEDICINAL PLANT CROPS - IMPORTANT SOURCE OF HIGH VALUE-ADDED PRODUCTS

Published in Scientific Papers. Series A. Agronomy, Vol. LIX
Written by Alice GRIGORE, Lucia PIRVU, Corina BUBUEANU, Svetlana COLCERU-MIHUL, Carmen IONITA, Lucian IONITA

Medicinal and aromatic plants play a central role, not only as traditional medicines used in many cultures but also as raw materials for other bio-based products. Economical feasibility is the main interest to bring a species in cultivation but it is also a substantial limitation as long as sufficient raw material can still be obtained at a lower price from wild-harvest. The number of medicinal and aromatic plant species currently in formal cultivation for commercial production does not exceed a few hundred worldwide (FAO). Cultivation can also have conservation impacts, as some wild species are being over-exploited. Medicinal plant production through cultivation, for example, can reduce the extent to which wild populations are harvested, but, on the other hand, it also may lead to environmental degradation and loss of genetic diversity. A limiting factor for starting new crops is represented by climate changes which already causes major environmental effects. The selection of a vegetal species to be introduced into cultivation should be justified by the growing requirements correlated to the trends in climate change, multi-purpose potential of the plant - a variety of products based on current uses and future projections, various types (herb, seeds, fruits, leaves, flowers, roots) of raw material for industrial use and an important market demand. In this review are presented the main biologically active herbal constituents, applicative potential (as medicines, cosmetics, insecticides, allelochemicals, food additives and dyes), prospects to widen the range of the feedstock for understudy industrial uses, restricting factors that inhibit broader industrial use of the biomass feedstock, prospects and recommendations to use bio-based products.

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GRIGORE A., PIRVU L., BUBUEANU C., COLCERU-MIHUL S., IONITA C., IONITA L. 2016, MEDICINAL PLANT CROPS - IMPORTANT SOURCE OF HIGH VALUE-ADDED PRODUCTS. Scientific Papers. Series A. Agronomy, Vol. LIX, ISSN 2285-5785, 298-307.


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