Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 15, 2008
Publication Date: July 1, 2008
Citation: King, S.R., Davis, A.R., Perkins Veazie, P.M., Helms, A., Stein, L.A. 2008. Effects of mineral nutrition on carotenoid content in spinach [abstract]. HortScience. 43(4):1246.
Carotenoids from fruits and vegetables are known to be potent antioxidants with extensive health promoting activity. While numerous studies have shown the genetic and biochemical mechanisms of health promoting phytochemical accumulation in plants, few studies have investigated the effects of mineral nutrition on phytochemical content. Most studies dealing with mineral nutrition have investigated the effects of various treatments on crop yield. In this study, we investigated the effects of Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorous (P) fertility on total carotenoid content in spinach. Crops were grown according to commercial growing practices in Texas for processing spinach with two harvests. Treatments varied from 0 to 312 kg/ha N, and from 0 to 49 kg/ha P. Optimal crop yields were obtained with high N and medium P (24 kg/ha) fertilizer additions, but the highest carotenoid contents were obtained when added P fertilizer was maximized (49 kg P/ha). Increases in N fertility up to 312 kg/ha had little influence on total carotenoid content. These results suggest that optimal fertility management studies should not rely solely on yield performance but should also test for maximizing health promoting activity of vegetables.