Hypobaria and hypoxia affects growth and phytochemical contents of lettuce Academic Article uri icon


  • The primary objective of this research was to investigate how low pressure (hypobaria) and low oxygen (hypoxia) affect functional phytochemicals and the nutritional quality of 'Red Sails' lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.). Plants were grown under two levels of total gas pressure (reduced or ambient (25 or 101 kPa, respectively)) at three levels of O2 partial pressures (low, medium or ambient (6, 12 or 21 kPa, respectively)). Hypoxia effects on nutritional and functional phytochemicals were more pronounced than hypobaria effects. Regardless of the total pressure, hypoxia, in general, enhanced leaf anthocyanin levels, enhanced total phenolic compounds, enhanced carbohydrate concentration and enhanced free radical scavenging capacity of lettuce but reduced leaf mineral concentration. Hypoxia increased the ethylene production of plants but ethylene accumulation was not the sole reason for enhanced anthocyanin production in plants grown under hypoxia. Our results suggest that low oxygen stress induces the production of protective phytochemicals and the free radical scavenging potential in lettuce, which may in turn enhance the functional value. However, further human intervention studies are needed to confirm if enhanced phytochemicals in plants have significant impact in human body.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Rajapakse, N. C., He, C., Cisneros-Zevallos, L., & Davies, F.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Rajapakse, Nihal C||He, Chuanjiu||Cisneros-Zevallos, Luis||Davies, Fred T Jr

publication date

  • September 2009