• carotenoids;
  • edible young shoots;
  • lutein;
  • β-carotene;
  • neoxanthin;
  • violaxanthin



Wild vegetables have traditionally been consumed as part of the Mediterranean diet, being valuable sources of nutrients and bioactive compounds. The objective of this work was to analyse the carotenoid content of the edible young shoots of four species (Asparagus acutifolius L., Humulus lupulus L., Bryonia dioica Jacq. and Tamus communis L.) as part of a wider study on the characterisation of the nutritional composition of wild edible plants commonly consumed in Spain. Samples were gathered from two locations in Central Spain for two consecutive years.


Lutein, β-carotene, neoxanthin and violaxanthin were quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography with a photodiode array detector. Median concentration ranges (mg g−1 edible wet weight) were: β-carotene, 33.9–66.9; lutein, 54.4–191.3; neoxanthin, 51.7–173.7; and violaxanthin, 20.8–89.3. The highest carotenoid content was that of B. dioica (590.1 mg g−1) and the lowest was found in A. acutifolius (175.8 mg g−1).


Our results show that these wild young shoots are richer sources of carotenoids than many of the commercially available leafy vegetables. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry