"Select microgreens in custom diet may help deliver desired nutrients"

A diet including a carefully selected assortment of microgreens may help address an individual's nutritional deficiencies, according to a Penn State researcher who led an international team that evaluated the mineral content in young specimens of many different plant species.

"Under controlled environmental conditions, we grew 17 different species of microgreens, which are simply the young seedlings of edible plants, belonging to seven different botanical families, and we analyzed those for their yield performance," said Francesco Di Gioia, assistant professor of vegetable crop science and lead author on the study. "We determined their nitrate content and the mineral profile, considering both macronutrients and micronutrients, for each species."

He added that macronutrients are the nutrients the body requires in large amounts, such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, while micronutrients are those required in smaller amounts, such as minerals and vitamins. The researchers recently published their findings in Frontiers in Plant Science.

Di Gioia's research group in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State has studied microgreens for 15 years, evaluating sustainable cultivation techniques of immature plants and their nutritional value. Lately, Di Gioia's lab has focused on the potential of microgreens as a nutrition security resource in emergency situations and as a strategy for surviving a global catastrophe, such as an all-out nuclear war, a large asteroid strike, or a supervolcano eruption. Those events would endanger agricultural productivity by reducing sunlight and temperature, disrupting rainfall patterns, and contaminating water supplies.

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