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Food Chem. 2013 May 1;138(1):382-8. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.10.036. Epub 2012 Nov 8.

Ascorbic acid, nitrate, and nitrite concentration relationship to the 24hour light/dark cycle for spinach grown in different conditions.

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Food Science Department, No. 1, Sec. 1, Shen-Lung Road, National I-Lan University, I-Lan, Taiwan.


Nitrate, nitrite and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) concentrations were determined for spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) over a 24 h period to determine if light intensity (including dark periods) at time of harvest impacts concentrations in raw vegetables. Nitrate, nitrate and ascorbic acid concentrations varied significantly over the 24 h period and appeared to be related to changes in light intensity. Light intensity at the time an experimental sample is collected may affect the concentration of some constituents that a researcher is studying. Also, nitrate and nitrite concentrations in raw spinach can be reduced by harvesting at the best time of day. The highest nitrate concentrations in spinach occurred in the dark just prior to an increase in light intensity. Ascorbic acid was near its highest level for the 24 h period when the light intensity initially increased, then decreased to its lowest level around 3-6 h later.

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