Antiplatelet Activity is Positively Correlated with Pungency and Solids in Onion (Allium cepa L.)

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  • 1 Depts. of Horticulture and Medical Science, Univ. of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, WI 53706.

Onion (Allium cepa L.) and other vegetable Alliums have long been recognized for the antiplatelet properties. Consumers may benefit from the medicinal value of onions because they are commonly eaten raw in salads and the antiplatelet factor is destroyed by heat. Recent work indicates antiplatelet activity in Allium sp. may be due to the presence of native organosulfur compounds. The concentration of organosulfur compounds correlates positively with pungency, varies with onion cultivar, and is influenced by environmental factors. Bulb dry matter content, or solids, is positively correlated with pungency. Because antiplatelet activity may also be based on the activity of organosulfur compounds, it is possible these three factors are significantly correlated. The objective of this investigation was to examine the relationship among pungency, solids, and antiplatelet activity in four diverse onion genotypes. Replicated trials consisting of two mild and two pungent genotypes were conducted at four locations in 1994. Onion bulbs were harvested and analyzed for all three traits. Results from this investigation indicate significant positive correlations between antiplatelet activity, pungency, and solids in onion.

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