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Food Research International
Volume 132, 2020, 109052

Nutritional characterization of Butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata D.): Effect of variety (Ariel vs. Pluto) and farming type (conventional vs. organic)

Jorge Armestoa, Gabriele Rocchettib, Biancamaria Senizzab, Mirian Pateiroa, Francisco J.Barbac, Rubén Domíngueza, Luigi Lucinib, José M.Lorenzoa

Centro Tecnológico de la Carne de Galicia, Rúa Galicia N° 4, Parque Tecnológico de Galicia, San Cibrao das Viñas, 32900 Ourense, Spain.


Farming systems and cultivar types are two of the main factors able to affect the nutritional quality of plant foods for human nutrition. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare the impact of two unexplored variety (namely Ariel and Pluto) and farming type (conventional and organic) on physicochemical parameters, chemical and mineral composition, water- and fat-soluble vitamins, amino acid profile and antioxidant bioactive components of butternut squashes (Cucurbita moschata). In order to achieve this purpose, a multivariate statistical discrimination of the different parameters was carried out using the unsupervised principle component analysis (PCA). The most important differences were obtained between the two cultivars under organic farming conditions. In fact, the proportion of compounds was higher in organic squashes than in conventional ones. In this regard, the essential amino acids were 1.3-fold higher than non-essential ones, as well as the contents of potassium (9%), magnesium (67%), sodium (29%), manganese (≈3-fold), zinc (≈2-fold) and tocopherol (4-fold). However, higher concentrations of folic acid (15%) and β-carotene (62%) were achieved under conventional cultivation. Regarding the impact of variety, Pluto was found to possess the highest levels of folic acid (24%) and β-carotene (80%), whilst the Ariel showed a higher tocopherol content (≈3-fold). Agricultural production systems have a great impact on the composition of Butternut squash, especially on essential amino acids content, antioxidant compounds and mineral composition.

Keywords: Cucurbitaceae, Organic-cultivars, Conventional-cultivars, Phytochemicals, Antioxidant activity.

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