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Open AccessArticle

Yield and Quality Characteristics of Brassica Microgreens as Affected by the NH4:NO3 Molar Ratio and Strength of the Nutrient Solution

1
Department of Agricultural and Environmental Science, University of Bari Aldo Moro, via Amendola 165/A, 70126 Bari, Italy
2
Institute of Sciences of Food Production, National Research Council of Italy, via Amendola 122/O, 70126 Bari, Italy
3
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics–Research Centre for Viticulture and Enology, Via Casamassima, 148, 70010 Turi, Italy
4
Department of Pharmacy-Drug Sciences, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Via Orabona, 4, 70125 Bari, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Foods 2020, 9(5), 677; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9050677
Received: 28 April 2020 / Revised: 20 May 2020 / Accepted: 21 May 2020 / Published: 25 May 2020
Microgreens are gaining more and more interest, but little information is available on the effects of the chemical composition of the nutrient solution on the microgreen yield. In this study, three Brassica genotypes (B. oleracea var. italica, B. oleracea var. botrytis, and Brassica rapa L. subsp. sylvestris L. Janch. var. esculenta Hort) were fertigated with three modified strength Hoagland nutrient solutions (1/2, 1/4, and 1/8 strength) or with three modified half-strength Hoagland nutrient solutions with three different NH4:NO3 molar ratios (5:95, 15:85, and 25:75). Microgreen yields and content of inorganic ions, dietary fiber, proteins, α-tocopherol, and β-carotene were evaluated. Micro cauliflower showed the highest yield, as well as a higher content of mineral elements and α-tocopherol (10.4 mg 100 g−1 fresh weight (FW)) than other genotypes. The use of nutrient solution at half strength gave both a high yield (0.23 g cm−2) and a desirable seedling height. By changing the NH4:NO3 molar ratio in the nutrient solution, no differences were found on yield and growing parameters, although the highest β-carotene content (6.3 mg 100 g−1 FW) was found by using a NH4:NO3 molar ratio of 25:75. The lowest nitrate content (on average 6.8 g 100 g−1 dry weight) was found in micro broccoli and micro broccoli raab by using a nutrient solution with NH4:NO3 molar ratios of 25:75 and 5:95, respectively. Micro cauliflower fertigated with a NH4:NO3 molar ratio of 25:75 showed the highest dry matter (9.8 g 100 g−1 FW) and protein content (4.2 g 100 g−1 FW). View Full-Text
Keywords: broccoli; broccoli raab; cauliflower; hydroponic; mineral elements; nitrate; vitamins broccoli; broccoli raab; cauliflower; hydroponic; mineral elements; nitrate; vitamins
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MDPI and ACS Style

Palmitessa, O.D.; Renna, M.; Crupi, P.; Lovece, A.; Corbo, F.; Santamaria, P. Yield and Quality Characteristics of Brassica Microgreens as Affected by the NH4:NO3 Molar Ratio and Strength of the Nutrient Solution. Foods 2020, 9, 677.

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