Biofortification to Increase Nutritional Quality and Plant Yield of Two Different Specialty Crops

Date

2023-12

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Abstract

The challenge of meeting the growing demands of the global population while ensuring nutritious food supply has prompted the current research on the exploration of agronomic biofortification in horticultural crops. Although increased crop production is crucial, solely focusing on quantity may compromise the nutritional quality of produce, leading to malnutrition and undernutrition in significant portions of the population. Agronomic biofortification, the practice of enhancing mineral and vitamin content in crops, presents a promising approach to addressing nutrient deficiencies and improving the nutritional value of food. Various studies were conducted to demonstrate the efficacy of agronomic biofortification in improving the nutritional quality of arugula and broccoli microgreens and arugula leafy greens through the application of ascorbic acid. In Chapter 2, arugula microgreens were treated with varying rates of ascorbic acid, resulting in higher vitamin C content compared to the control. Chapter 3 focused on broccoli microgreens, where vitamin C content was increased by up to 222% and increased microgreens biomass using ascorbic acid supplementation. Chapter 4 explored the biofortification of ascorbic acid and other essential nutrients such as potassium, calcium, and zinc. The treatment with ascorbic acid and zinc showed the most significant increase in vitamin C concentrations and fresh weight. In Chapter 5, the foliar application of ascorbic acid in leafy greens increased vitamin C content without negatively affecting the plants' biomass and mineral composition. In conclusion, agronomic biofortification of vitamin C in horticultural crops, particularly in arugula, broccoli microgreens, and arugula leafy greens, holds great promise for increasing the vitamin C content in crops and ensuring more consistent dietary levels of this essential nutrient. Further research in this area can lead to the development of more reliable and nutritious food sources, contributing to improved global health and well-being.


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Keywords

Microgreens, Leafygreens, Arugula, Broccoli, Horticulture, Vitamin C, Ascorbic Acid

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