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Open AccessArticle

Antioxidant and Mineral Composition of Three Wild Leafy Species: A Comparison Between Microgreens and Baby Greens

1
Department of Agriculture, Food, Environment and Forestry, University of Florence, 50144 Florence, Italy
2
CREA Research Centre for Vegetable and Ornamental Crops, Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, 51017 Pescia, Italy
3
Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences–Production, Landscape, Agroenergy, University of Milan, 20133 Milano, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Foods 2019, 8(10), 487; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8100487
Received: 11 September 2019 / Revised: 8 October 2019 / Accepted: 9 October 2019 / Published: 12 October 2019
Wild plants may play an important role in human nutrition and health and, among them, many are the leafy species. We hypothesized that the wild greens could be profitably grown as microgreens and baby greens, specialty products whose market is increasing. We compared three wild leafy species (Sanguisorba minor Scop., Sinapis arvensis L., and Taraxacum officinale Weber ex F. H. Wigg.) harvested at the microgreen and baby green stages. Seedlings were grown hydroponically in a half-strength Hoagland nutrient solution under controlled climatic conditions. At harvest, the yield was assessed, and chlorophylls, carotenoids, anthocyanins, phenolic index, nitrate, and mineral elements were measured in the two types of product. The potential contribution to human mineral intake was calculated, and the possible risk due to the presence of metals potentially detrimental for health was estimated. Results showed that micro/baby greens of the studied wild plants achieved competitive yields and could contribute to the dietary intake of macroelements, microelements, and non-nutrient bioactive compounds. On the other hand, the wild greens showed high amounts of nitrate and traces of some metals potentially detrimental for health, suggesting the need for caution in the use of wild species for producing microgreens and baby leaves. View Full-Text
Keywords: wild plants; vegetable specialty products; immature greens; nitrate; minerals; dietary value; health risk wild plants; vegetable specialty products; immature greens; nitrate; minerals; dietary value; health risk
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Lenzi, A.; Orlandini, A.; Bulgari, R.; Ferrante, A.; Bruschi, P. Antioxidant and Mineral Composition of Three Wild Leafy Species: A Comparison Between Microgreens and Baby Greens. Foods 2019, 8, 487.

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