Changes in nutritional values during the ripening of cucumber (Cucumis sativus)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Authors: Csaba Orbán, Éva Csajbók, Andrea Dobronszki


Abstract

 

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is one of the most preferred vegetable among the Hungarian population. Altought many article can be found about the vitamin, polyphenol content and antioxidant-activity comparison of cucumber  with other vegetables, there are only limited available information about the physiological and nutritional changes of cucumber during the ripening processes of the fruit. One of our aim was to study the peroxidase (POX)-, glutathione-S-transferase – enzyme (GST) activity changes, which indicate the physiological status of the plant tissues. Chlorophyll content and antioxidant-activity alteration via the ripening processes were also assessed.

 

Our results indicate that POX-activity decreases dramatically, while the GST-activity continously increases as the fruit growing. Chlorophyll content decrease, while the antioxidant-activity doesn’t change significantly. From our result we can make the conclusion that although the physiological status of the cucumber fruit change by the ongoing ripening processes; it doesn’t come along with the change of the nutritional value alteration.

 

Introduction

 

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is one of the most often consumed vegetables in Hungary. Based on literature data, it does not possess particularly high amounts of any of the vitamins [1], total polyphenols [2], or certain fenolic acids [3], and its carotenoid content is minimal, as well [4]. There are many publications about its antioxidant activity, which unanimously prove that, compared to other fruits and vegetables, it has a low radical scavenging capability [5], [6]. Despite these facts, it is still considered an important foodstuff because of its favorable  elemental composition [7], and also its antioxidant chlorophyll [8]  and dietary fiber contents [9].

 

Although there are several studies on the nutritional values of cucumber, but they mainly compare nutritional values to those measured in other vegetables, while there are very few sources available about changes during the ripening process. Our earlier research on other plantbased foodstuffs proved that there are significant changes during ripening both in terms of physiological parameters and components important for health maintenance [10].

 

Of these, outstandingly important is the capability to eliminate free radicals, and changes in the amount of antioxidant type pigment molecules[11].

 

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Anton Paar