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J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Mar 28;60(12):3144-50. doi: 10.1021/jf300051f. Epub 2012 Mar 20.

Effect of organic and conventional cropping systems on ascorbic acid, vitamin C, flavonoids, nitrate, and oxalate in 27 varieties of spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.).

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Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California at Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616, USA.


This study was undertaken to compare the levels of ascorbic acid, vitamin C, flavonoids, nitrate, and oxalate in 27 spinach varieties grown in certified organic and conventional cropping systems. Liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-(ESI)MS/MS) of methanolic extracts of spinach demonstrated 17 flavonoids, including glucuronides and acylated di- and triglycosides of methylated and methylenedioxyderivatives of 6-oxygenated flavonoids. The mean levels of ascorbic acid and flavonoids were significantly (p < 0.001) higher in the organically grown [40.48 ± 6.16 and 2.83 ± 0.03 mg/kg of fresh weight (FW)] spinach compared to the conventionally grown spinach (25.75 ± 6.12 and 2.27 ± 0.02 mg/kg of FW). Conversely, the mean levels of nitrate were significantly (p < 0.001) higher in the conventionally grown spinach compared to the organically grown spinach. No significant effects were observed in the oxalate content of spinach from either production system. The levels of nitrate correlated negatively with those of ascorbic acid, vitamin C, and total flavonoids and showed a positive correlation with the oxalate content. These results suggest that organic cropping systems result in spinach with lower levels of nitrates and higher levels of flavonoids and ascorbic acid.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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