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Modifying growth and pigments in carrot and dill microgreens

Microgreens are the new sophisticated commodity in horticulture that boost the human diet with bioactive metabolites and garnishes it with colors and tastes. Microgreens thrive well when cultivated in soilless systems, of which closed-loop soilless systems combined with biostimulant application can provide a sustainable, innovative method of growing microgreens.

Daucus carota L. and Anethum graveolens L. microgreens were grown in greenhouse conditions implementing a floating raft system combined with a protein hydrolysate of leguminous origin as root application(0.3 mL L−1nutrient solution). Growth, colorimetric parameters, macronutrients, chlorophylls, carotenoids, carbohydrates, free amino acids, and soluble proteins were assessed. The use of protein hydrolysate in the nutrient solution engendered an increase in anthocyanins (+461.7%) and total phenols (+12.4%) in carrot, while in dill, the fresh yield (+13.5%) and ascorbic acid (+17.2%) increased.

In both species, soluble proteins and total free amino acids increased by 20.6% and 18.5%, respectively. The floating raft system proved to be promising for microgreens and can ease the application of biostimulants through root application. Future research should also investigate the yield and nutritional parameter responses of other species of microgreens with the aim of large-scale sustainable production.

Read the complete research at

El-Nakhel, Christophe & Ciriello, Michele & Formisano, Luigi & Pannico, Antonio & Giordano, Maria & Gentile, Beniamino & Fusco, Giovanna & Kyriacou, Marios & Carillo, Petronia & Rouphael, Youssef. (2021). Protein Hydrolysate Combined with Hydroponics Divergently Modifies Growth and Shuffles Pigments and Free Amino Acids of Carrot and Dill Microgreens. Horticulturae. 10.3390/horticulturae7090279. 

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