Reduction of the Nitrate Content in Baby Spinach Leaves by Vacuum Impregnation with Sucrose
Vacuum impregnation (VI) has been widely utilized as a pre-treatment method prior to, e.g., the minimal processing, freezing, or drying of foods. In many cases, VI has been used to focus on the enrichment of fruits and vegetables with probiotics or micronutrients, texture enhancement, the modification of the sensory attributes, and extension of shelf life by pH reduction. However, little attention has been paid to the exploration of the metabolic consequences of VI that could lead to changes in the quality characteristics of plant tissues. Since nitrate has long been discussed as a compound that is harmful to human health, the aim of this investigation was to reduce the nitrate content in spinach leaves by feeding sucrose into the tissue using VI. The leaves, either non-treated or treated with VI, were stored under saturated humidity conditions and in darkness at 8 °C, for up to 72 h. VI-treated leaves showed a remarkable reduction in nitrate content as compared to the non-treated samples. Upon storage, sucrose was reduced, indicating that this sugar had been respired and had induced metabolization of the stored nitrate. The nitrite content of the treated leaves was unaffected, proving that this toxic compound was not accumulated in the baby spinach leaves upon external sucrose feeding.
KeywordsSucrose feeding Nitrate Metabolism
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