Ascorbic acid, carotenoids, and visual quality of baby spinach as affected by shade netting and postharvest storage

Author(s): Bergquist SA, Gertsson UE, Nordmark LY, Olsson ME


Baby spinach ( Spinacia oleracea L.) was grown under three types of shade netting (high transmittance, spectrum-altering, and low transmittance) to study the effect on the concentrations of vitamin C (ascorbic acid and dehydroascorbic acid), carotenoids, and chlorophyll and on the visual quality of the leaves. The spinach was sown in April and August and harvested at two growth stages. After harvest, leaves were stored in polypropylene bags at 2 and 10 degrees C. Shading significantly decreased the ascorbic acid concentration of April-sown spinach by 12-33%, but in the August-sown spinach, the response was inconsistent. Concentrations of total carotenoids and total chlorophylls were significantly higher under the nettings in many cases, especially under the spectrum-altering and low-transmittance nettings. Postharvest visual quality and postharvest persistence of the compounds analyzed were not greatly affected by shading. We conclude that these shade nettings are acceptable to use in baby spinach production when it comes to the studied aspects of internal and external quality of the produce.

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