Vegetable microgreens: The gleam of next generation super foods, their genetic enhancement, health benefits and processing approaches

Food Res Int. 2022 May;155:111038. doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2022.111038. Epub 2022 Feb 19.


Considering the well-being cognizance of masses, the microgreens have emerged as the potential therapeutic functional foods for improving the overall health by dietary supplementation. Microgreens have delicate texture, distinctive flavors and exceptional volume of various nutrients accounting for higher neutraceutical benefits compared to their mature counterparts. Mounting interest in microgreens owes not only to their nutritional significance but also to their fascinating organoleptic traits. Many factors like rapid shrinkage of the land resources, lifestyle modification, healthy diet habits, the functional importance of food etc. cumulatively have resulted in increased interest in the microscale production of vegetables for the ready-to-eat market. Augmenting the production of secondary metabolites could provide more nutritional benefits, sensory attributes, and resistance to pests while, sharing many characteristics with sprouts, they are not associated with any foodborne illness. Their production by manipulation of agronomic practices like seeds, growing media, and light quality and biofortification with nutrients may result in nutrient-rich produce. These high-value crops typically characterized by short postharvest life and several pre a-harvest treatments can effectively maintain the shelf life of microgreens. Further, several genetic improvement tools can enhance the availability of bioactive compounds with minimum antinutritional factors. In this review, the comparative overview of the nutritional significance of microgreens with sprouts and their mature counterparts has been discussed. Further, the advances or manipulations in production technologies, the involvement of breeding programmes, and efficient post-harvest technologies to promote cost-effective production and future strategies for maintaining the shelf life and quality of microgreens have been argued.

Keywords: Bioactive compounds; Functional importance; Microgreens; Nutritional significance; Processing; Production.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biofortification
  • Genetic Enhancement*
  • Nutritive Value
  • Plant Breeding
  • Vegetables*