Spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) is an annual, cool-season, and green leafy vegetable that in temperate areas can be grown year-round (Conte et al., 2008; Rodríguez-Hidalgo et al., 2010). Koike et al. (2011) reported that spinach can grow most rapidly in winter at 5 to 18 °C, although it can also withstand low temperatures of –9 to –6 °C without severe injury. Thus, annual fluctuations in certain parameters such as radiation, temperature, rainfall, and other related environmental factors, as well as time of season, affect the growth and quality of spinach (Bergquist et al., 2005).
Spinach leaves have been reported to contain high contents of bioactive compounds such as antioxidants (Cao et al., 1996), total phenolics (Wu et al., 2004), flavonoids, and vitamin C (Gil et al., 1999). However, postharvest conditions influence the composition of these compounds. Postharvest products are living materials (Pandjaitan et al., 2005), and therefore, several processing procedures may induce a stress reaction and thereby affect the quality of the product (Hodges and Toivonen, 2008). Undesirable results that may be caused by the postharvest factors are linked to loss of flavor and texture tissue decay (Varoquaux and Wiley, 1994), and development of an “off” odor (Allende et al., 2004), depending on the intensity of stress-induced postharvest factors.
Different seasons may influence differently the quality and shelf life of produce. However, relatively little has been published on the influence of season on the growth and quality of baby spinach postharvest (Bergquist et al., 2005, 2006; Howard et al., 2002). Therefore, the current investigation was conducted to evaluate the influence of different seasons on the growth productivity and postharvest quality of baby spinach leaves.
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