Over the years, crops have been improved through breeding, mainly to increase production and, secondly, to introduce resistance to diseases and to achieve tolerance to abiotic stresses, these two latter by resorting to Crop Wild Relatives (CWR). This has resulted, in most cases, in homogeneous and nutritionally poor commercial varieties. Landraces and traditional varieties, barely taken into account, are key resources as they retain nutrients frequently “washed away” in the commercial varieties and also harbour a great genetic variability. They could represent a shortcut when compared to CWR in breeding, saving time and resources. The consumer’s growing interest in health and food quality has caused breeders to redirect their attention toward them. This chapter provides information about the content in compounds with health benefits, such as phenolics, minerals, vitamins, etc., of landraces and traditional varieties of the most important crops, which could help to obtain healthier and more nutritious products.
Part of the book: Landraces