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J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Dec 14;53(25):9751-8.

Biodegradation of oxalic acid from spinach using cereal radicles.

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  • 1Institute for Biochemistry of Cereals and Potatoes, Federal Research Centre for Nutrition and Food, Sch├╝tzenberg 12, 32756 Detmold, Germany.


A high level of oxalate intake constitutes a health risk for infants and metabolically disposed adults. Spinach, acclaimed for its many health benefits, is among the vegetables richest in oxalate. Blanching reduces oxalate unsatisfactorily and unspecifically. An alternative, biological method is proposed on the basis of rye seedlings or radicles (also barley and wheat) containing an oxalate-specific oxalate oxidase by nature. Dissolved oxalate (0.25 mM) was rapidly degraded in the presence of radicles (e.g., 70% within 100 min). With commercial deep-frozen spinach, near-complete degradation of soluble oxalate was achieved at pH 3.5. The total level of oxalate was reduced by half. Similarly high rates occurred from 18 to 35 degrees C. Even at 55 degrees C appreciable rates were observed. The seedling as a whole is effective, too, and enrichment with cereal-specific healthy components would occur. Removal of oxalate from other vegetables, juices, cycled process waters, or feeds is conceivable with fresh or heat-dried cereal seedlings or radicles.

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