Dietary Melatonin, a New Element in Food Science

A special issue of Foods (ISSN 2304-8158).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 May 2017)

Special Issue Editor

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Guest Editor
Department of Biomedical, Surgical and Dental Sciences, Università degli Studi di Milano, 20133 Milan, Italy
Interests: essential oils; bioactive phytochemicals; ethnopharmacology; antimicrobial resistance; one health; food security
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Melatonin is a pleotropic molecule, widespread among living organisms. From bacteria to humans, it is involved in a plethora of biological, hormonal and physiological processes at cell, tissue and organ levels. Melatonin is an amphipathic molecule able to cross barriers as cell membranes and the blood–brain barrier, and, in addition, it possesses an intrinsic, powerful antioxidant capacity, scavenging the harmful reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS and RNS). In the plant kingdom, melatonin has been detected in a number of food and medicinal plants, were it seems to exert an auxin-like activity, besides protecting cells and organelles, particularly chloroplasts, from oxidative stress arising from photosynthesis and respiration.

Melatonin concentration in plants varies considerably not only from species to species, but also among varieties of the same species and in different organs of a given plant, usually ranging from pg g−1 to μg g−1 of tissue. In general, seeds and other reproductive organs, rich in lipids and the most vulnerable to oxidative stress caused by environmental pollution or UV irradiation, present the highest levels of melatonin, with concentrations several orders of magnitude higher than those normally measured in vertebrate tissues.

Recently, the discovery of melatonin in food products typical of the healthy Mediterranean diet has suggested a pivotal role of this indoleamine as a bioactive dietary component. Currently, the molecule has been detected in a number of grapevine varieties and grape products (red, white and dessert vines, grape juice, vinegar and grappa) all over the world, as well as in Spanish olive oils. Finally, the possibility of modulating serum melatonin levels in mammals through the ingestion of plant foods represents a novel and fascinating field of research, since dietary melatonin is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and transported into the blood stream.

In this context, we invite investigators to submit both original research and review articles that explore all these aspects. Potential topics include, but are not limited to: melatonin determination in foods; oral bioavailability of melatonin; melatonin as anti-ageing factor; effects of plant cultivation and agricultural practices on the melatonin levels; effects of food storage and processing on the melatonin content; melatonin in fermented foods and beverages; melatonin produced by microorganisms; melatonin and gut microbiota.

Prof. Dr. Marcello Iriti
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Foods is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • functional foods;
  • nutraceuticals, plant foods;
  • Mediterranean diet;
  • circadian rhythms;
  • indoleamines;
  • melatonin isomers;
  • tryptophan derivatives;
  • organic farming

Published Papers

There is no accepted submissions to this special issue at this moment.
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