Salt in irrigation water affects the nutritional and visual properties of romaine lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.)

Hyun Jin Kim, Jorge M. Fonseca, J. Hee Choi, Chieri Kubota, Young Kwon Dae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

179 Scopus citations


The influence of salinity stress on the growth, appearance, and nutritional compounds, especially phenolic compounds and carotenoids, of romaine lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.), a low salt tolerant plant, was studied. The dry weight, height, and color of the lettuce plants were significantly changed by long-term irrigation (15 days) with higher NaCI concentration (i.e., >100 mM). However, no significant differences were observed in the growth and appearance among the control, all short-term treatments (2 days; 50, 100, 500, and 1000 mM), and long-term irrigation with low salt concentration. Moreover, in romaine lettuce treated with long-term irrigation with 5 mM NaCl, the total carotenoid content increased without color change, and the contents of major carotenoids in romaine lettuce, lutein and β-carotene, increased 37 and 80%, respectively. No differences were observed in lutein and β-carotene contents in short-term-treated lettuce. The phenolic content of the romaine lettuce declined with short-term salt irrigation, whereas there were no significant differences among treatments exposed to long-term irrigation. This research indicates that long-term irrigation with relatively low salt concentration, rather than short-term irrigation with high salt concentration, can increase carotenoid content in romaine lettuce without causing a tradeoff in yield or visual quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3772-3776
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of agricultural and food chemistry
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 28 2008


  • Carotenoids
  • Lutein
  • Phenolic compound
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Salinity stress
  • Salt
  • Secondary metabolites
  • β-carotene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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