March 3, 2010
Supermarket Lighting Enhances Nutrient Level Of Fresh Spinach
Far from being a food spoiler, the fluorescent lighting in supermarkets actually can boost the nutritional value of fresh spinach, scientists are reporting. The finding could lead to improved ways of preserving and enhancing the nutritional value of spinach and perhaps other veggies, they suggest in a study in ACS' bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Gene Lester, Donald J. Makus, and D. Mark Hodges note that fresh spinach is a nutritional powerhouse, packed with vitamin C, vitamin E, folate (a B vitamin), and healthful carotenoid antioxidants. Supermarkets often display fresh spinach in clear plastic containers at around 39 degrees Fahrenheit in showcases that may be exposed to fluorescent light 24 hours a day. Lester, Makus, and Hodges wondered how this continuous light exposure might affect spinach's nutritional value.
Image Caption: Spinach on display under 24-hour light in supermarkets actually gains in content of some nutrients. Credit: Marc Villalobos, USDA-ARS
On the Net:
- American Chemical Society
- Article: Relationship between Fresh-Packaged Spinach Leaves Exposed to Continuous Light or Dark and Bioactive Contents: Effects of Cultivar, Leaf Size, and Storage Duration