Nutrient and Nitrate Composition of Greenhouse-Grown Leafy Greens: A Trial Comparison Between Conventional and Organic Fertility Treatments

Erin O. Swanson, Justin L. Carlson, Liz A. Perkus, Julie M Grossman, Mary A Rogers, John E. Erwin, Joanne L. Slavin, Carl J Rosen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Arugula (Eruca sativa), mizuna (Brassica rapa var. nipponsinca), red giant mustard (Brassica juncea), and spinach (Spinaciaoleracea “Tyee”) are fresh produce crops high in nutritive value that provide shortfall and high interest nutrients addressed in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines. The primary objective of this project was to evaluate fertility treatments unique to these crops that optimize their nutritional capacity. Measurements discussed include: vitamin C, dietary fiber, calcium, iron, potassium, sodium, and nitrate. Plants were grown at the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus (St. Paul, MN) in a greenhouse from November to April under an 18 h photoperiod and a 24/13°C day/night temperature. Plants were grown using five different fertility treatments, including four organic treatments and one conventional control. The plant treatment combinations were replicated three times and the entire experiment was duplicated. Fertility treatments had a high impact on vitamin C (with over a 3-fold difference in treatments in the first experiment), nitrate (over 10-fold difference among fertility treatments in some species) and potassium concentrations (over 5-fold difference among fertility treatments in some species) in analyzed plant tissue. No consistent differences were found for fiber, calcium, iron and sodium concentrations in tissue analyzed. This is the first study to analyze the impact that different organic treatments can have on multiple nutrients and compounds addressed by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for high-impact, highly-consumed produce crops.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number811995
JournalFrontiers in Sustainable Food Systems
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 30 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Authors would like to thank the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences MnDRIVE Global Food Ventures Program for funding for this project. JC was funded by the University of Minnesota Graduate School while working on the project.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Swanson, Carlson, Perkus, Grossman, Rogers, Erwin, Slavin and Rosen.

Keywords

  • dietary fiber
  • leafy greens
  • minerals
  • nitrate
  • organic
  • vitamin C

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