Spinach is arguably the #1 or # 2 most nutritious vegetable (broccoli being the other) that is consumed in the United States. It is very versatile since it is commonly used as a salad, a cooked vegetable or as a component of many other cooked meat and vegetable dishes. The recent development of baby leaf spinach coupled with an upswing of nutrition concerns has been responsible for increased consumption of spinach. It is widely stated that dark green leafy vegetables are the most lacking component of the American diet. Spinach is one of the most desirable dark green leafy vegetables because it is high in beta carotene (pro vitamin A) and folate, and is also a good source of vitamin C, calcium, iron phosphorous, sodium and potassium (Ryder, 1979; Nonnicke, 1989; Dicoteau, 2000). It is high in the carotenoid lutein which has been shown to prevent age related macular degeneration. Spinach is a good source of antioxidants and has one of the highest ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) values of any vegetable (Prior, 2003). While no attempts to breed for these traits have been reported in the literature there are reports of large differences between genotypes and it has been assumed that breeding for these traits is possible (Howard, 2001; Howard et al., 2002). Lutein values ranging from 10–25 mg/100g fresh weight have been reported (Murphy and Morelock, 2000). There also is a wide range of beta carotene levels between spinach genotypes (Murphy and Morelock, 2000).
- Cucumber Mosaic Virus
- Downy Mildew
- Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity
- Female Plant
- Green Peach Aphid
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Morelock, T.E., Correll, J.C. (2008). Spinach. In: Prohens, J., Nuez, F. (eds) Vegetables I. Handbook of Plant Breeding, vol 1. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-30443-4_6
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