The variation in flavonoid concentration and composition was investigated in baby spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) cv. Emilia sown on three occasions, each harvested at three growth stages at 6-day intervals. After harvest, leaves were stored in polypropylene bags at 2 or 10 degrees C. Flavonoids were analyzed by reversed phase HPLC. Twelve flavonoid peaks were detected. The main flavonoid, making up on average 43% of the total flavonoid concentration, was identified as 5,3',4'-trihydroxy-3-methoxy-6:7-methylenedioxyflavone-4'-glucuronide. Four other flavonoids each contributed 7-12% of the total flavonoid content. Total flavonoid content was relatively stable during normal retail storage conditions, although some of the individual flavonoid compounds showed considerable variation. The youngest plants had the highest flavonoid concentration, indicating that by harvesting the baby spinach a few days earlier than the current commercial stage of harvest, the flavonoid concentration in the product may be increased and the content of potentially health-promoting compounds enhanced.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2005, Vol 53, Issue 24, p. 9459-9464