Microgreens: Assessment of Nutrient Concentrations

Thursday, July 25, 2013: 3:45 PM
Springs Salon A/B (Desert Springs J.W Marriott Resort )
Gene E. Lester , USDA–ARS, Beltsville, MD
Zhenlei Xiao , University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Yaguang Luo , USDA–ARS, BARC, Beltsville, MD
Qin Wang , University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Microgreens (seedlings of green vegetables and herbs) are gaining in popularity as a new culinary ingredient, providing intense flavors, vivid colors, and crisp texture when added to salads and other food preparations.  Although microgreens would inherently be regarded as a healthy addition to the diet, no information is available on their nutritional content.  The present study determined the concentrations of essential vitamins or provitamins A, C, E, and K1 in 25 commercially available microgreens.  Results showed that different microgreens provide widely varying amounts of the four vitamins, but regardless they generally have significantly higher concentrations of these phytonutrients in comparison with mature leaves from the same plant species.  These phytonutrient data provide the first scientific basis for evaluating nutritional benefits of microgreens and, when included in the USDA food composition database, can be used by health agencies and consumers to make educated choices about inclusion of microgreens as part of a healthy diet.