Pre-harvest nitrogen and azoxystrobin application enhances raw product quality and post-harvest shelf-life of baby spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.)

J Sci Food Agric. 2014 Dec;94(15):3263-72. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6679. Epub 2014 Apr 30.


Background: Baby spinach was cultivated under spring or winter conditions to investigate the effect of azoxystrobin and, only in the winter cycle, of nitrogen fertilisation (0, 80 and 120 kg ha(-1) of N) on yield and product morphological traits at harvest and on the physical, visual, bio-physiological, nutritional and anti-nutritional characteristics change during cold storage.

Results: The yield was 37% higher in spring than in the overwinter cycle. Spring grown plant had leaves of lighter colour, lower in dry matter content, higher in ascorbic acid, nitrate, and total phenol content. They had higher weight loss during storage than the winter product. Fresh weight was favoured by azoxystrobin only in the non-fertilised plants. During storage azoxystrobin reduced leaf dehydration, contrasted weight loss and the increase in phenols in leaves from fertilised plants. N supply positively affected yield, and greenness of raw and stored leaves. N fertilisation lowered weight loss due to respiration and showed a protective effect on membrane integrity during storage. Azoxystrobin proved effective in reducing nitrate leaf content.

Conclusion: Azoxystrobin, especially in fertilised crop, is useful in improving the physiological quality, the safety, and the nutritional quality of baby spinach. A rate of 80 kg ha(-1) can be suggested as optimum N fertilisation.

Keywords: antioxidants; chlorophylls; electrolyte leakage; nitrate; strobilurins.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / methods
  • Ascorbic Acid / analysis
  • Fertilizers*
  • Food Preservation / methods*
  • Food Quality*
  • Fungicides, Industrial
  • Methacrylates / administration & dosage*
  • Nitrates / analysis
  • Nitrogen / administration & dosage*
  • Nutritive Value
  • Phenols / analysis
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Plant Leaves / growth & development
  • Pyrimidines / administration & dosage*
  • Seasons
  • Spinacia oleracea / growth & development*
  • Strobilurins


  • Fertilizers
  • Fungicides, Industrial
  • Methacrylates
  • Nitrates
  • Phenols
  • Pyrimidines
  • Strobilurins
  • Nitrogen
  • azoxystrobin
  • Ascorbic Acid