Effect of nitrogen source in the fertilizing solution on nutritional quality of three members of the Portulaca oleracea aggregate

Gabriella Szalai, Nir Dai, Avinoam Danin, Nativ Dudai, Oz Barazani

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14 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Portulaca oleracea (purslane) is nutritious but, in addition to the essential α-linolenic acid, vitamin C and tocopherols, it contains undesirable oxalic acid. Knowing the effects of nitrate and ammonium on oxalate accumulation, we tested the agronomic potential of three members of the P. oleracea aggregate under various nitrogen fertilization conditions, by measuring biomass production and accumulation of fatty acids, organic acids and tocopherol in the commercial P. sativa (Pos) and two natural members: P. nitida (Pon) and P. papillato-stellulata (Pop). RESULTS: With nitrate as the sole N source, we measured differences between Pon and Pos in concentrations of the essential ω-3 fatty acid α-linolenic acid. Pos also gained less dry biomass under these conditions, implying a higher agronomical and nutritional value for Pon. Increasing the fertilizer ammonium concentration and reducing that of nitrate significantly decreased oxalic acid by factors of up to 1.7, 2.6 and 3.4 in Pos, Pop and Pon, respectively, significantly increased concentrations of tocopherol andmalic acid, had no effect on fatty acids or ascorbic acid, but reduced biomass. CONCLUSION: In spite of the recumbent growth habit of Pon, the present findings indicate its agronomic potential. Because early flowering and seed production may be the limiting factors in purslane agriculture, growing Pon in nitrate-poor conditions might be agriculturally favorable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2039-2045
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2010



  • Fatty acids
  • Nitrogen fertilization
  • Organic acids
  • Portulaca oleracea
  • Tocopherol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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