Plants and Human Health: Chicory as a Model

Food has a great impact on our health and the prevention of disease. In a society where food is abundant, health depends on a balanced diet. The latter depends amongst others on grains, vegetables and fruits that are produced safely, but also on sufficient intake of vitamins and minerals, and access to health-promoting molecules.

Therefore, research on plant metabolic pathways is needed to produce food sources or plant-derived products for the benefit of public health. Within the frame of this theme, we are launching a research programme in the crop plant chicory, to understand the processes that drive accumulation of pigments, flavours, vitamins, nutraceuticals and bioactive terpenoids and to study the interface between primary and specialized metabolism during growth, development and stress situations.

This research will also involve translation into relevance for public health and (Flemish) agriculture and industry through collaboration with ILVO.

Chicory (source: ILVO)