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Phytochemical responses to salt stress in lettuce grown in a floating hydroponic module

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) is one of the most popular leafy vegetables, appreciated globally as a low-calorie food with bioactive compounds. The application of a low dose of abiotic stress is considered a sustainable pre-harvest strategy to modify the nutraceutical value of horticultural products.

This work explores the response of two differently colored (red or green) baby leaf lettuce varieties to four NaCl concentrations in the nutrient solution (from 1 to 30 mM), using a full factorial design. The research team focused on leaf morphological parameters and possible phytochemical enhancement of the main polyphenols and anthocyanins, analyzed by LC-MS.

The response to low-to-moderate salt stress exposure was affected mainly by salt concentration for leaf traits or by the cultivar for leaf color, with very limited factors' interactions. Multivariate analysis indicated a predominant role of the genotypic factor in shaping differences in the two weeks growing cycle for baby leaf lettuce. Phytochemically, different dose-response models to sub-optimal saline conditions may be applied to the various compounds. A significant hormetic stimulation was present only for cyanidin-malonyl glucoside, the main anthocyanin present in the red cultivar.

Read the complete research at

Corrado, Giandomenico & Vitaglione, Paola & Giordano, Maria & Raimondi, Giampaolo & Napolitano, Francesco & Stasio, Emilio & Di Mola, Ida & Mori, Mauro & Rouphael, Youssef. (2021). Phytochemical Responses to Salt Stress in Red and Green Baby Leaf Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) Varieties Grown in a Floating Hydroponic Module. Separations. 8. 1-13. 10.3390/separations8100175. 

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