« Local food – nutraceuticals »: an example of a multidisciplinary research project on local knowledge
Sommaire de l'article
Currently, dietary patterns change rapidly all over the world. Most notably, there is a fast increase in the convenience food market. Here we discuss the overall theoretical framework and strategy of an EU-funded project on local food, a common resource in many parts of the Mediterranean. Such food is often only available seasonally and is consumed either fresh (e.g. spring salads and vegetables, fruits in autumn) or in a conserved form (dried, fermented, pickled). There is an urgent need to document and analyse such local resources, which are today at the brink of disappearance. In this project, selected species were studied using a multidisciplinary approach, including strategies and methods from pharmacology, nutritional sciences and anthropology (i.e. ethnopharmacological or ethnonutritional ones). For example, all extracts were profiled using HPLC-MS, by determining their polyphenol content and using a variety of in vitro anti-oxidant assays (incl. guaiacol oxidation, xanthine oxidase inhibition, HOCl scavenging, eNOS activity). Such research also points to ways for ascertaining the intergenerational transmission of the knowledge and for sustainable development and management. Examples from field studies in southern Italy and from pharmacological studies using a variety of targets are used to illustrate the potential of such neglected resources. The wider implications of such an approach, for example, for the study of similar traditions in Central and Eastern Europe are also discussed.