Alegria, C., Antunes, C., Giovanetti, M., Abreu, M. & Máguas, C. (2020) Acorn isotopic composition: a new Promising tool for authenticity maps of montado’s high-value food products.Molecules, 25(7), 1535. DOI:10.3390/molecules25071535 (IF2020 4,411; Q2 Qhemistry, Multidisciplinary)
It is often overlooked that even food production is linked to the ecology of plants and animals. Living organisms respond to environmental short-and long-term variability: acknowledging this may help in the ultimate goal of valorizing a territory/product. We investigated acorns of the two main Quercus species of the Portuguese Montado, a main feed of the renown black Iberian pig. We tested their responses to an aridity gradient by morphological parameters and isotopic signature. Q. rotundifolia and Q. suber acorns did not differ morphologically, even if a higher variability in all parameters was observed in acorns of Q. suber. According to the site-specific Aridity Index, correlations are indicative to higher weight and length only in Q. suber acorns from more arid sites. As for isotopic composition, there were no differences in nitrogen or carbon (δ15N and δ13C) between the two species. However, combining the samples and testing for association with the Aridity Index, we found that more arid sites lead to a 15N enrichment. This result, combined with the positive correlation between AI and acorns length, support the use of acorns as a tool, their isoscapes of nitrogen being a stepping stone for the provenance of the black Iberian pig.