Nitrate in Leafy Vegetables : Toxicity and Safety

Nitrate in Leafy Vegetables : Toxicity and Safety
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Nitrate in Leafy Vegetables : Toxicity and Safety

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Publisher: IK International
ISBN: 9789382332213
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Preface
Nitrate NO 3 and nitrite NO 2 are ubiquitous within environmental, food, industrial and physiological systems, and while our understanding of their role within such matrices has increased, a substantial degree of uncertainty and speculation remains Moorcroft et al. 2001 . When ingested within permissible limit, these ions play significant roles in various physiological functions of human body including their roles in vascular and immune functions. However, excess nitrate and its metabolites are toxic and lead to various ailments in humans Gupta et al. 2001, 1999a,b Sharma and Sharma 2012 . Nitrates enter human body through sources such as drinking water, food and air. Out of the total human nitrate intake, fruit and vegetables account for 70 , drinking water 21 , and meat and meat products 6 . However, the common nitrate-rich vegetables are lettuce, beetroot, celery, egg plant, beet, banana, strawberry, tomatoes and peas. The leafy vegetables are important source of nitrates in human body Dich et al. 1996 Hord et al. 2009 . In fact, nitrate content is an important quality characteristic of vegetables. The use of excessive nitrogenous fertilizers has been regarded as one of the major reasons leading to accumulation of nitrate in leafy vegetables which is wrongly considered by farmers as reasonable insurance against yield loss. Therefore, vegetable nitrate content is of interest to governments and regulators owing to the possible implications for health and to check that controls on the content are effective Anjana et al. 2007 . It is worth mentioning here that although there exists a plethora of publications focused on nitrate in soils, plants and their potential impact on human health, the available research reports and findings from different arenas are largely disorganized and not critically cross-linked and or integrated. Therefore, this book is an effort to provide a common platform for plant scientists and health professionals working with a common aim of sustainable solutions to nitrate-led human and environmental health consequences. Vegetables constitute a major dietary source of nitrate, contributing to the daily dietary intake for a percentage ranging from 30 to 94 . Although nitrate itself is relatively non-toxic, or even beneficial, the possible harmful effects of nitrate derived compounds on human health arouse public concern and have led to the development of government regulations and monitoring programs aimed at protecting the public health. In this perspective, the Chapter 1 by Di Gioia et al. focuses on the factors concerning nitrate accumulation in vegetables and their contribution to nitrate intake in the human diet, taking into account the recent EU
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PREFACE
Regulation No. 1258 2011 and the Scientific Opinion of the Panel on Contaminants in the Food chain CONTAM of the European Food Safety Authority EFSA . zt rk et al. in Chapter 2 present some interesting outcomes from recent experiments