Flavonol content and composition of spring onions grown hydroponically or in potting soil

Leslie Thompson, J. Morris, E. Peffley, C. Green, P. Paré, D. Tissue, R. Jasoni, J. Hutson, B. Wehner, C. Kane

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14 Scopus citations


Two experiments were conducted as part of an effort to evaluate the suitability of onions as a candidate crop for testing in a closed, controlled environment, hydroponic-based plant facility designed for long-term manned space missions (NASA Engineering Development Unit). Composition and total flavonol content of the plants were determined as they matured in a hydroponic-versus a soil-based system. 'Purplette' onions (Allium cepa L.) were grown hydroponically in a greenhouse for as long as 77 days. Composition of the plant tissue was determined at weekly or biweekly intervals. Ca, Mg, K, and N (wet matter basis) all decreased as plants matured. Dry matter (DM) and S contents were constant regardless of age averaging 10.6% and 187 mg/100 g, respectively. Total flavonol (TF) content increased as plants matured (226-538 mg/100 g at 14 and 77 days, respectively). Onions grown in hydroponic units or in potting medium had similar composition for all constituents examined (10.38%, 0.550%, 4.15%, and 0.97% DM, N, C, and ash, respectively; and 126.0, 55.5, 270, 185 and 453 mg/100 g Ca, Mg, K, S and TF, respectively). Based on phenotypic characteristics and composition determined in this study, onions were well suited to hydroponic propagation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-645
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Food Composition and Analysis
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Allium cepa
  • Hydroponic
  • Mineral composition
  • Phytochemicals


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