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Flow injection analysis of nitrate-N determination in root vegetables: Study of the effects of cooking

Chetty, Adrian Avinesh, Prasad, Surendra
Food chemistry 2009 v.116 no.2 pp. 561-566
root vegetables, food analysis, food composition, chemical composition, nitrate nitrogen, flow injection analysis, potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, taro, Colocasia esculenta, cooking, cooking quality, raw vegetables, Fiji
Vegetables are the major vehicles for the entry of nitrate into the human system. Ever-increasing concern over nitrate toxicity has directed a number of countries to lay down maximum allowable threshold concentrations with regards to nitrate-N in vegetables. Fiji is an independent island nation, located in the southern Pacific Ocean, has a tropical oceanic climate and hence expected to have high nitrate-N levels in vegetables. Thus, the present study was devoted to establish a flow injection analysis (FIA) technique for nitrate-N determination in Fiji's commonly consumed fresh and cooked root vegetables such as potato (Solanum tuberosum), dalo (Colocasia esculenta), sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) and carrot (Daucus carota L.). Activated carbon extraction technique was applied to extract nitrate-N. FIA with colorimetric detection technique having linear dynamic range of determination 1.0-20.0mgL⁻¹ and detection limit of 0.042mgL⁻¹ (0.34mgkg⁻¹), using sulphanilamide and N-(1-naphthyl)ethylenediamine dihydrochloride as colour reagents, was used to determine nitrate-N contents in selected fresh and cooked root vegetables. The samples throughput was 38h⁻¹. The effects of various cooking (boiling, baking and frying) methods on nitrate-N contents in root vegetables have also been studied. The study shows that the nitrate content of fresh root vegetables ranges from 53.76-258.00mgkg⁻¹ whereas boiling reduces nitrate content by 23.30-42.62%. The frying in soya bean oil elevates nitrate contents from 204.53-299.12% but after baking nitrate contents remains almost constant with slight increasing trend from 2.80-8.43%. A comparison of the nitrate obtained by standardised method and the nitrate contents in vegetables of other countries are also presented.