Investigation of Oxalate Levels in Sorrel Plant Parts and Sorrel-Based Products


The oxalate content of the leaves and stems of green and variegated cultivars of sorrel (Rumex acetosa) were extracted and measured using HPLC chromatography. The larger, more mature leaves of both cultivars contained higher levels of total, soluble and insoluble oxalates. The stems also contained appreciable levels of oxalates. The mean soluble oxalate content of the variegated leaves was 14.7%, which was significantly higher than found in the leaves of the green-leaved cultivar (11.9%). The proportion of soluble oxalate to total oxalate in the stems ranged from 12.7% to 24.4% for both cultivars. Sorrel sprouts contained a much higher proportion of soluble oxalates than the green sorrel leaves but were similar in oxalate content to the variegated leaves. Pesto and soup made from sorrel leaves retained their characteristic sour taste despite containing much lower levels of oxalates. The levels of oxalates in sorrel leaves were high and it was recommended that the leaves should be consumed occasionally as a delicacy because of their unique taste rather than as a significant part of the diet. However, the products made from sorrel leaves were less of a problem as they contained lower levels of oxalates.

Share and Cite:

J. Tuazon-Nartea and G. Savage, "Investigation of Oxalate Levels in Sorrel Plant Parts and Sorrel-Based Products," Food and Nutrition Sciences, Vol. 4 No. 8, 2013, pp. 838-843. doi: 10.4236/fns.2013.48109.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] X. Y. Yu, X. H. Tan and W. Cai, “Survey on Polygana ceae Herb Resources of in Zhejiang Tiantong National Forest Park,” Medicinal Plants, Vol. 2, No. 3, 2011, pp. 22-24, 27.
[2] D. Bensky and A. Gamble, “An Encyclopaedia of Tradi tional Chinese Medicinal Substances (Zhong Yao Da Ci Dian),” Eastland Press, Seattle, 1986.
[3] Z. Kuceková, J. Mlcek, P. Humpolícek, O. Rop, P. Valasek and P. Saha, “Phenolic Compounds from Allium schoenoprasum, Tragopogon pratensis and Rumex ace tosa and their Antiproliferative Effects,” Molecules, Vol. 16, No. 11, 2011, pp. 9207-9217. doi:10.3390/molecules16119207
[4] D. Moravcíková, Z. Kuceková, J. Mlcek, O. Rop and P. Humpolícek, “Compositions of Polyphenols in Wild Chive, Meadow Salsify, Garden Sorrel and Ag Yoncha and Their Anti-Proliferative Effect,” Acta Universitatis Agriculturae et Silviculturae Mendelianae Brunensis, Vol. 60, No. 3, 2012, pp. 125-132.
[5] K. Gescher, A. Hensel, W. Hafezi, A. Derksen and J. Kühn, “Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins from Rumex ace tosa L. Inhibit the Attachment of Herpes Simplex Virus Type-1,” Antiviral Research, Vol. 89, No. 1, 2011, pp. 9-18. doi:10.1016/j.antiviral.2010.10.007
[6] C. S. Holm, J. W. Aston and K. Douglas, “The Effects of the Organic Acids in Cocoa on the Flavour of Chocolate,” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, Vol. 61, No. 1, 1992, pp. 65-71. doi:10.1002/jsfa.2740610111
[7] O. Ladeji and Z. S. C. Okoye, “Chemical Analysis of Sorrel Leaf (Rumex Acetosa),” Food Chemistry, Vol. 48, No. 2, 1993, pp. 205-206. doi:10.1016/0308-8146(93)90059-O
[8] S. W. Souci, W. Fachmann and H. Kraut, “Food Compo sition and Nutrition Tables,” CRC Press, Stuttgart, 2000.
[9] N. D. Obretenova, K. Kepova, N. Petrova and K. K’rdz hieva, “Chemical Composition and Nutritive Value of Some Little-Used Leaf Vegetables in Bulgaria,” Izvestiya na Institut po Khranene, Vol. 5-20, 1973, pp. 327-332.
[10] S. C. Noonan and G. P. Savage, “Oxalate Content of Foods and Its Effect on Humans,” Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 8, No. 1, 1999, pp. 64-74. doi:10.1046/j.1440-6047.1999.00038.x
[11] P. A. Nakata, “Advances in our Understanding of Cal cium Oxalate Crystal Formation and Function in Plants,” Plant Science, Vol. 164, No. 6, 2003, pp. 901-909. doi:10.1016/S0168-9452(03)00120-1
[12] M. Contreras-Padilla, E. Perez-Torrereo, M. Hernandez Urbiola, G. Hernandez-Quevedo, A. del Real, E. Rivera Munoz and M. Rodriguez-Garcia, “Evaluation of Ox alates and Calcium in Nopal Pads (Opuntia ficusindica var. redonda) at Different Maturity Stages,” Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, Vol. 24, No. 1, 2001, pp. 38-43. doi:10.1016/j.jfca.2010.03.028
[13] T. S. Simpson, G. P. Savage, R. Sherlock and L. P. Van hanen, “Oxalate Content of Silver Beet Leaves (Beta vulgaris var. cicla) at Different Stages of Maturation and the Effect of Cooking with Different Milk Sources,” Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, Vol. 57, No. 22, 2009, pp. 10804-10808. doi:10.1021/jf902124w
[14] S. T. Kareno, M. J. S. Morley-Bunker and G. P. Savage, “Oxalate Content of Purslane Regrowth is Unaffected by Differing Repeat Harvesting Regimes,” Proceedings of the Nutrition Society of New Zealand, Vol. 33, 2008, pp. 126-131.
[15] AOAC, “Official Methods of Analysis International,” 17th Edition, Association of Analytical Communities, Gaithersburg, 2002.
[16] G. P. Savage, L. Vanhanen, S. M. Mason and A. B. Ross, “Effect of Cooking on the Soluble and Insoluble Oxalate Content of Some New Zealand Foods,” Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, Vol. 13, No. 3, 2000, pp. 201-206. doi:10.1006/jfca.2000.0879
[17] W. D. Holloway, M. E. Argall, W. T. Jealous, J. Lee and J. H. Bradbury, “Organic acids and Calcium Oxalate in Tropical Root Crops,” Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, Vol. 37, No. 2, 1989, pp. 337-341. doi:10.1021/jf00086a014
[18] Food Standards Australia New Zealand, 2010.
[19] M. A. Alfawaz, “Chemical Composition of Hummayd (Rumex vesicarius),” Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, Vol. 19, No. 6-7, 2006, pp. 552-555. doi:10.1016/j.jfca.2004.09.004
[20] F. Ferreres, V. Ribeiro, A. G. Izquierdo, M. A. Rodrigues, R. M. Seabra, P. B. Andrade and P. Valentao, “Rumex induratus Leaves: Interesting Dietary Source of Potential Bioactive Compounds,” Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, Vol. 54, No. 16, 2006, pp. 5782-5789. doi:10.1021/jf0613233
[21] R. Seiner, R. Honow, A. Seidler, S. Voss and A. Hesse, “Oxalate Contents of Species of the Polyganaceae, Ama ranthaceae and Chenopodiaceae Families,” Food Chem istry, Vol. 98, No. 2, 2006, pp. 220-224. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2005.05.059
[22] N. Suyama, S. Tone and T. Sakai, “Differences of Oxalic Acid Content among Cultivars in Spinach Leaf Blades (Spinacia oleracea L.) by the Leaf Disk Method,” Bulle tin of the Yamaguchi Agriculture Experimental Station, Vol. 47, 1996, pp. 41-46.
[23] E. Tillman-Sutela and A. Kauppi, “Calcium Oxalate Crys tals in the Mature Seeds of Norway Spruce, Picea abies (L.) Karst,” Trees, Vol. 13, No. 3, 1999, pp. 131-137. doi:10.1007/s004680050197
[24] G. P. Savage, Martensson and J. R. Sedcole, “Composi tion of Oxalates in Baked Taro (Colocasia esculenta var. Schott) Leaves Cooked Alone or with Additions of Cows milk or Coconut Milk,” Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, Vol. 22, No. 1, 2009, pp. 83-86. doi:10.1016/j.jfca.2008.05.011
[25] “The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables,” 8th Edition, Plant & Food Research, Ministry of Health, Wellington, 2009.
[26] R. P. Holmes, H. O. Goodman and D. G. Assimos, “Die tary Oxalate and its Intestinal Absorption,” Scanning Mi crobiology, Vol. 9, No. 4, 1995, pp. 1109-1120.
[27] D. W. Fassett, “Oxalates,” In: Toxicants Occurring Natu rally in Foods, National Academy of Sciences, Washing ton DC, 1973, pp. 346-362.
[28] P. P. Figdor, “Uremia as a Symptom of Oxalic Acid Poi soning (in German with English Abstract),” Wiener Med izinische Wochenschrift, Vol. 111, 1961, pp. 111-114.
[29] S. C. Morrison, G. P. Savage, “Oxalates,” In: B. Cabal lero, L. C. Trugo and P. M. Finglas, Eds., Encyclopaedia of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 2nd Edition, Academic Press, London, 2003, pp. 4282-4287. doi:10.1016/B0-12-227055-X/01378-X

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.