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International Journal of Agronomy
Volume 2015, Article ID 376417, 28 pages
Research Article

High-Throughput Screening of Sensory and Nutritional Characteristics for Cultivar Selection in Commercial Hydroponic Greenhouse Crop Production

1Plant Science Department, Macdonald Campus of McGill University, 21111 Lakeshore Road, Sainte Anne de Bellevue, QC, Canada H9X 3V9
2School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, Macdonald Campus of McGill University, 21111 Lakeshore Road, Sainte Anne de Bellevue, QC, Canada H9X 3V9
3Plant Protection Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Damanhour University, Damanhour, Albeheira 22516, Egypt

Received 11 May 2015; Revised 6 October 2015; Accepted 5 November 2015

Academic Editor: Kent Burkey

Copyright © 2015 Atef M. K. Nassar et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hydroponic greenhouse-grown and store-bought cultivars of tomato (cherry and beefsteak), cucumbers, bibb lettuce, and arugula were investigated to see if they could be distinguished based on sensory qualities and phytonutrient composition. Only the more dominant sensory criteria were sufficiently robust to distinguish between cultivars and could form the core of a consolidated number of criteria in a more discriminating sensory evaluation test. Strong determinants for cultivar selection within each crop included the following: mineral analysis (particularly Cu, Fe, K, Mg, and P); total carotenoids (particularly β-carotene, lycopene, and lutein); total carbohydrate (except in arugula); organic acids; total phenolics and total anthocyanins (except in cucumber). Hydroponically grown and store-bought produce were of similar quality although individual cultivars varied in quality. Storage at 4°C for up to 6 days did not affect phytonutrient status. From this, we conclude that “freshness,” while important, has a longer duration than the 6 days used in our study. Overall, the effect of cultivar was more important than the effect of growing method or short-term storage at 4°C under ideal storage conditions.