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Nitrate analysis of Diplotaxis tenuifolia: fresh versus dry material for meeting international standards and regulations

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image of Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

Nitrate fertilizers are the most commonly used nitrogen sources for growing vegetables. The use of nitrate fertilizers in vegetable production may result in its accumulation in the plants if uptake exceeds assimilation. High nitrate concentrations in leafy vegetables represent a possible threat to human health. Leafy vegetables are the highest contributor to total food nitrate intake as a result of their high specific concentration and the large amount consumed. Consequently, European Union regulations were established for nitrate concentrations in leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach and rucola (Diplotaxis tenuifolia). Therefore, the need for a reliable, easy, fast and universal method to meet these demands is essential. We reassessed nitrate determination by comparing fresh and dry leaf material extracts of rucola. Our results indicate that the leaf nitrate concentration with both measurement methods is similar. Consequently, the use of the dry leaf extracts method is feasible and worth recommending to the European Union as an official method for determining nitrate concentrations in leafy vegetables.

Affiliations: 1: Gilat Research Center, Agricultural Research Organization, M.P. Negev, Israel ; 2: Institute of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Center, Rishon LeTsiyon, Israel ; 3: Extension Service, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Rishon LeTsiyon, Israel


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