The current consumer demand for foods or food supplements with "super properties" is being covered by previously under-exploited ethnic products. The endemic flora from multiple continents serve as source of plant foods such as cereals or tropical fruits. Chile, one of the top five plant biodiversity hotspots on the planet, is a promising source of functional foods with little scientific and commercial research. The aim of this chapter is to summarize the findings related to the antioxidant and antibacterial potential of native/endemic plants and plant-derived compounds from Chile. Resources of these compounds may be found in honey, bee pollen, and berry-like fruits. These products, unknown to many parts outside the country, not only have the advantage of their functional properties but also possess denomination of origin, which gives added value and allows them to be used as food additives such as natural colorants, antioxidants, antibacterials, and antifungals. In the coming years, many of these products will be more commercially known and many of these plant species will be selected and improved, as have happened with products such as tofu or blueberries.
Part of the book: Superfood and Functional Food
Honey chemical composition is related to the plant species where nectar is collected by honeybees. Chilean beekeeping is characterized by a variety of honey types, some unique, due to a high participation of endemic and native species. In Chile, the most emblematic flower honey, both for its abundance and sensory characteristics, is ulmo honey (Eucriphya cordifolia) and quillay honey (Quillaja saponaria). Melissopalynological analyses are used to establish whether a honey is unifloral, where at least 45% or more pollen grains found in it belong to the same species. The antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of Chilean honey have been studied in the last years with excellent results. Quillaja saponaria, Eucriphya cordifolia, Azara petiolaris, and Retanilla trinervia are within the Chilean endemic species that produce unifloral honeys that show antioxidant potential and antibacterial activity against pathogenic gram positive and gram -negative bacteria and also multiresistant strains. These activities are mainly attributed to the phenolic compounds such as flavonoids. Among these attractive characteristics of honey, it is important to note that this product has low toxicity and the medicinal properties of honey will help to protect honeybees by adding value not only to the significantly important process of pollinating crops and native plants, but also for the medicinal importance of their products.
Part of the book: Honey Analysis