Accreditation and Quality Assurance

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 115–122 | Cite as

Occurrence of nitrate in vegetables and dietary exposure assessment for the Cypriot adolescent consumers

  • Georgios Stavroulakis
  • Demetris Kafouris
  • Maria Christofidou
  • Lefkios Paikousis
  • Eftychia Christou
  • Maro Christodoulidou
  • Popi Kanari
  • Eleni Ioannou-Kakouri
Practitioner's Report


In this study, a simple, rapid and sensitive ion chromatography method was used for the determination of mass fraction nitrate (mg kg−1) in 396 samples of vegetables. The method performance characteristics were determined after spiking blank samples. The mean recoveries in vegetables ranged from 94.0 % to 108.7 %. Limits of detection and quantification were 10 mg kg−1 and 30 mg kg−1, respectively. The results showed the mass fraction nitrate in vegetables was in the range of 10 mg kg−1–5619 mg kg−1. Leafy, root and stem vegetables, and herbs were the most contaminated, compared to other vegetables. Approximately 87 % of the samples were contaminated with nitrate; however, none of the samples analyzed was above the maximum limits for nitrate in vegetables. The dietary nitrate intake through consumption of vegetables was estimated for the adolescent population in Cyprus. The mean and 95th percentile intake values, based on median nitrate concentrations, were 1.12 kg d−1 and 3.42 mg kg−1 d−1, respectively. A small percentage (3.3 %) of the adolescent population had a nitrate intake above the Acceptable Daily Intake (3.7 mg kg−1 d−1). Lettuce and other leafy vegetables (spinach, rucola, purslane, beet leaves) contributed nearly 60 % to the overall nitrate exposure (mg kg−1 d−1).


Nitrate Vegetables Ion chromatography Dietary exposure 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the Cyprus Government and Ministry of Health for financial support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georgios Stavroulakis
    • 1
  • Demetris Kafouris
    • 1
  • Maria Christofidou
    • 1
  • Lefkios Paikousis
    • 2
  • Eftychia Christou
    • 1
  • Maro Christodoulidou
    • 1
  • Popi Kanari
    • 1
  • Eleni Ioannou-Kakouri
    • 1
  1. 1.State General LaboratoryMinistry of HealthNicosiaCyprus
  2. 2.ImprovastNicosiaCyprus

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