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Carotenoid and chlorophyll composition of commonly consumed leafy vegetables in Mediterranean countries.

Research paper by Dragan D Znidarčič, Dean D Ban, Helena H Sircelj

Indexed on: 01 Dec '11Published on: 01 Dec '11Published in: Food Chemistry



Abstract

Major chloroplast pigments in five leafy vegetables (chicory-Cichorium intybus, cv. 'Anivip' and cv. 'Monivip', dandelion-Taraxacum officinale, garden rocket-Eruca sativa and wild rocket-Diplotaxis tenuifolia), commonly consumed in Mediterranean countries, have been separated by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) on a reversed-phase column. Three classes of pigments were identified and quantified: xanthophylls (oxygenated carotenoids), carotenes (hydrocarbon carotenoids) and chlorophylls. The contents of the pigments in the analysed leafy vegetables varied significantly. The results indicated that selected leafy vegetables were moderately rich in xanthophylls, primarily lutein (3.87-7.44mg/100g fwt). Other xanthophylls were detected in relatively small quantities. The provitamin A carotenoids (α- and β-carotene) were also detected, but α-carotene were not present in chicory cultivars and in dandelion. The ratio of chlorophyll a/b varied from 2.44 to 2.67 depending on the species. The highest content of all the analysed constituents was found in the garden rocket.