Please wait a minute...
Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2019, Vol. 18 Issue (10): 2272-2283    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(19)62664-X
Horticulture Advanced Online Publication | Current Issue | Archive | Adv Search |
Postharvest responses of hydroponically grown lettuce varieties to nitrogen application rate
Bevly M. Mampholo1, Martin Maboko2, Puffy Soundy1, Dharini Sivakumar
1 Phytochemical Food Network Research Group, Department of Crop Sciences, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
2 Agricultural Research Council–Roodeplaat, Vegetable and Ornamental Plant, Private Bag X293, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
Download:  PDF in ScienceDirect  
Export:  BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      

Limited information is available on the influence of preharvest N application rates on postharvest quality of different lettuce genotypes.  Two green leafy lettuce (Multigreen 1 and Multigreen 3) and red leafy lettuce (Multired 4) were grown in gravel film technique and fertigated with five different N application rates: 60, 90, 120, 150 and 180 mg L–1.  The 120 mg L–1 N application is commercially recommended for lettuce.  After harvest, lettuce samples were packed in a bioriented poly propylene packaging (5% O2 and 5% CO2) and  held at 5°C and 85% RH for 3, 6, 9 and 12 days.  The genotypes, preharvest N application rates and storage time affected the leaf colour coordinates, phenolic acids (dicaffeoyltataric acid, caffeoyl tartaric acid, 3-caffeoylquinic acid and 3,4-dihydroxycinnamic acid) and browning enzyme activities (phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL), polyphenol oxidase (PPO) and peroxidase (POD)).  Lower rates of N application at preharvest stage showed higher weight loss with the storage time increasing in Multigreen 3.  In Multigreen 1, colour coordinate b* value decreased remarkably with N application rates from 60 to 120 mg L–1 due to the onset of browning during storage.  While in Multigreen 3 and N application higher than 60 mg L–1 influenced the decrease in b* value.  Browning occurred due to the increased activity of PAL enzyme and the availability of the substrates caftaric, chlorogenic, caffeic acids, PPO activity and production of browning pigments due to the activity of POD.  Higher, N application rates (>120 mg L–1) influenced the browning mechanism and showed brownish red leaves in Multired 4 during storage.  Higher ascorbic acid concentration played a role in reducing the onset of browning in the fresh cuts leaves of Mulitired 4 and Multigreen 3 fertilized with lower preharvest lower N application rates (<120 mg L–1).  Preharvest N application at 90 mg L–1 retained the colour, ascorbic acid content and the phenolic acid components and extended the shelf life of Multired 4 lettuce up to 6 days. 

Keywords:  Lactuca sativa        ascorbic acid         phenylalanine ammonia-lyase       polyphenol oxidase       tissue browning  
Received: 01 November 2018   Accepted:
Fund: The authors wish to acknowledge the National Research Foundation Grant (98352) for Phytochemical Food Network to Improve Nutritional Quality for Consumers, South Africa.
Corresponding Authors:  Correspondence Dharini Sivakumar, E-mail:,   

Cite this article: 

Bevly M. Mampholo, Martin Maboko, Puffy Soundy, Dharini Sivakumar. 2019. Postharvest responses of hydroponically grown lettuce varieties to nitrogen application rate. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 18(10): 2272-2283.

Altunkaya A, Gökmen V. 2008. Effect of various inhibitors on enzymatic browning, antioxidant activity and total phenol content of fresh lettuce (Lactuca sativa). Food Chemistry, 117, 122–126.
Becker C, Urli? B, Juki? Špika M, Kläring H P, Krumbein A, Baldermann S. 2015. Nitrogen limited red and green leaf lettuce accumulate flavonoid glycosides, caffeic acid derivatives, and sucrose while losing chlorophylls, Β-carotene and xanthophylls. PLoS ONE, 10, e0142867.
Ben-Yehoshua S. 1990. Individual seal-packaging of fruit and vegetables in plastic films. In: Brody A, ed., Controlled/ Modified Atmosphere/Vacuum Packaging of Foods. Food and Nutrition Press, Connecticut, USA. pp. 101–107.
Berad S. 1990. Effect of nitrogen fertilization on stored cabbage. I. Development of physiological disorders on tolerant and susceptible cultivars. Journal of Horticultural Science, 65, 289–296. 
Bonasia A, Conversa G, Lazzizera C, Elia A. 2013. Pre-harvest nitrogen and Azoxystrobin application enhances postharvest shelf-life in Butterhead lettuce. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 85, 67–76.
Bradford M M. 1976. A rapid and sensitive method for the quantitation of microgram quantities of protein utilizing the principle of protein-dye binding. Analytical Biochemistry, 72, 248–254.
Brown S K, Bourne M C. 1988. Assessment of components of fruit firmness in selected sweet cherry genotypes. HortScience, 23, 902–904.
Cantwell M, Kasmire R F. 2002. Postharvest handling systems: Fruit vegetables. In: Kader A A, ed., Postharvest Technology of Horticultural Crops. Publication No. 33311. Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California, Davis, USA. pp. 407–421.
Couture R, Cantwell M I, Ke D, Saltveit M E. 1993. Physiological attributes related to quality attributes and storage life of minimally processed lettuce. HortScience, 28, 723–725.
Fontana E, Nicola S. 2008. Producing garden cress (Lepidium sativum L.) for the fresh-cut chain using a soilless culture system. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology, 83, 23–32.
Hisaminato H, Murata M, Homma S. 2001. Relationship between the enzymatic browning and phenylalanine ammonia-lyase activity of cut lettuce, and the prevention of browning by inhibitors of polyphenol biosynthesis. Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry, 65, 1016–1021.
Hoque M M, Husein A, Othman M. 2010. Yield and postharvest quality of lettuce in response to nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium fertilizers. HortScience, 45, 1539–1544.
Kader A A. 2002. Postharvest Technology of Horticultural Crops. ANR Publishers. p. 39.
Kader A A. 2008. Flavor quality of fruits and vegetables. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 88, 1863–1868.
Lopez-Galvez G, Saltveit M E, Cantwell M. 1996. The visual quality of minimally processed lettuces stored in air or controlled atmosphere with emphasis on romaine and iceberg types. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 8, 179–190.
Luna C, Martínez-Sánchez A, Selma M V, Tudela J A, Baixauli C, Gil M. 2013. Influence of nutrient solutions in an open-field soilless system on the quality characteristics and shelf life of fresh-cut red and green lettuces (Lactuca sativa L.) in different seasons. Journal of the Science and Agriculture, 93, 415–421.
 Luna M C, Tudela J A, Martínez-Sanchez A, Allende A, Marín A, Gil M I. 2012. Long-term deficit and excess of irrigation influences quality and browning related enzymes and phenolic metabolism of fresh-cut iceberg lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.). Postharvest Biology and Technology, 73, 37–45.
Mai F, Glomb M A. 2013. Isolation of phenolic compounds from iceberg lettuce and impact on enzymatic browning. Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, 61, 2868–2874.
Mahlangu R I S, Maboko M M, Sivakumar D, Soundy P, Jifon J. 2016. Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) growth, yield and quality response to nitrogen fertilization in a non-circulating hydroponic system. Journal of Plant Nutrition, 39, 1766–1775.
Malejane D N, Tinyani P P, Soundy P, Sultanbawa Y, Sivakumar  D. 2018. Deficit irrigation improves phenolic content and antioxidant activity in leafy lettuce varieties.  Food Science & Nutrition, 6, 334–341.
Mampholo B M, Maboko M M, Soundy P, Sivakumar D. 2018. Variety-specific responses of lettuce grown in a gravel-film technique closed hydroponic system to N supply on yield, morphology, phytochemicals, mineral content and safety. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 17, 2447–2457.
Mampholo B M, Sivakumar D, Beukes M, van Rensburg W J. 2013. Effect of modified atmosphere packaging on the quality and bioactive compounds of Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa L. ssp. chinensis). Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 93, 2008–2015.
Nicolle C, Carnat A, Fraisse D, Lamaison J L, Rock E, Michel H. 2004. Chracterisation and variation of antioxidant micronutrients in lettuce (Lactuca sativa Follum). Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 84, 2061–2069. 
Ntsoane L M, Soundy P, Jifon J, Sivakumar D. 2016. Variety-specific responses of lettuce grown under the different-coloured shade nets on phytochemical quality after postharvest storage. Journal of the Horticultutral Science and Biotechnology, 96, 520–528.
Pérez-López U, Sgherri C, Miranda-Apodaca J, Micaelli F, Lauesta M, Mena-Petite A, Quartacci M F, Muüoz-Rueda A. 2018. Concentration of phenolic compounds is increased in lettuce grown under high light intensity and elevated CO2. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, 123, 223–241.
Poulsen N, Sørensen J N, Johansen A S. 1994. Influence on growth conditions on the value of crisphead lettuce. 2. Weight losses during storage as affected by nitrogen, plant age and cooling system. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 46, 8–13.
Sellamuthu P S, Sivakumar D, Soundy P, Korsten L. 2013. Essential oil vapours suppress the development of anthracnose and enhance defence related and antioxidant enzyme activities in avocado fruit. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 81, 66–72.
Sofo A, Lundegardh B, Martensson A, Manfra M, Pepe G, Sommella E, De Nisco M, Tenoref G C, Campiglia P, Scopa A. 2016. Different agronomic and fertilization systems affect polyphenolic profile, antioxidant capacity and mineral composition of lettuce. Scientia Horticulturae, 204, 106–115.
Tudela J A, Hernández N, Pérez-Vicente A, Gila M I. 2016. Comprehensive evaluation of different storage conditions for the varietal screening of lettuce for fresh-cut performance. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 120, 36–44.
Volpe S, Mahajan P V, Rux G, Cavella S, Torrier E. 2018. Condensation and moisture regulation in packaged fresh-cut iceberg lettuce. Journal of Food Engineering, 216, 132–137.
Weston L A, Barth M M. 1997. Preharvest factors affecting postharvest quality of vegetables. HortScience, 32, 812–816.
Wills R B H, Stuart D L. 2000. Effect of handling and storage on alkylamides and cichoric acid in Echinacea purpurea. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 80, 1402–1406.

[1] LI Jun, WANG Hui, LU Yang, MAO Tang-fen, XIONG Jiang, HE Sheng-ling, LIU Hui . Inhibitory effect of tartary buckwheat seedling extracts and associated flavonoid compounds on the polyphenol oxidase activity in potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.)[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2019, 18(9): 2173-2182.
No Suggested Reading articles found!