The effects of genetic, pre-harvest (season of harvest, spear diameter, spear portion and spear tip color) and post-harvest factors (storage and domestic preparation practices, e.g., peeling and cooking) on total phenolic, flavonoid and ascorbic acid content of white asparagus spears and their correlation with antioxidant capacity (DPPH and FRAP) were studied. Results showed that genetic material was important for the total phenolic content but not season of harvest, spear diameter or storage. Violet spear tips and apical spear portions showed the largest amount of total phenolics. Peeling did not affect total phenolics in fresh asparagus, whereas it reduced their content in stored asparagus, while cooking resulted in an increase in both fresh and stored asparagus. However, the soluble extract of total phenolics and flavonoids were minor and the missing significance of phenolics and flavonoids in antioxidant capacity of white asparagus spears depends on these small amounts.
Keywords: antioxidant capacity; asparagus; color; cultivars; harvesting season; portion; spear thickness; storage; total phenolics.