The species Cynara cardunculus L. is native to the Mediterranean Basin, where its commercial production makes a significant contribution to the agricultural economy. It contains phenolic acids and flavones, which play an important role in diet, because of their beneficial effects on human health, and in industrial processing, due to the browning phenomenon. The quantitative and qualitative profile of these compounds is affected by different factors, such as genotype, environmental conditions, crop management and processing procedures. As a consequence, these are relevant for defining the quality of the product. Therefore, our aim was to review the main factors that influence polyphenol biosynthesis and degradation in C. cardunculus. From available data in literature, the genetic background appears to be the main factor, followed by environmental effects. However, crop management also could be a valuable tool to enhance the polyphenol content. C. cardunculus also provides substantial quantities of polyphenol-rich by-products, which could be considered as a natural source of health-promoting compounds and an added value for the farming business.
globe artichoke, cardoon, phenolic acids, flavonoids, genotype, environmental conditions, crop management, processing