Combining microgreens cultivation and biostimulant application in hydroponic systems accentuate yield and visual quality of functional food

Fecha de publicación: 10/12/2022
Fuente: ISHS (International Society for Horticultural Science)
Post date: Saturday 10 December 2022
ISHS Secretariat

Christophe El-Nakhel is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Naples Federico II, Department of Agricultural Sciences (DIA), Portici, Italy. His research interests include several topics within the field of horticulture, comprising soilless cultivation systems, protected cultivation, space farming, nutrient eustress, biofortification, microgreens, and biostimulant application on horticultural crops. Under the supervision of Prof. Youssef Rouphael, he investigated preharvest factors influencing microgreens quantitative and qualitative traits. Microgreens as functional food ameliorate our dietary supplementation by adding unique colors, shapes, textures, flavors, and, most importantly, bioactive compounds. Through the implementation of improved controlled cultivation by adopting soilless systems and artificial lighting, the agri-food industry can increase the production of microgreens characterized by a significant content of phytochemicals. With adequate environment control, water and resource use efficiency can be optimized for crop production. On the other hand, plant biostimulant can improve nutrient uptake and use efficiency and boost the qualitative aspects of horticultural crops. Chiefly, protein hydrolysates (PHs) as plant biostimulant via root application have proven beneficial due to their content of signaling peptides. Root hair promoting peptides present in PHs provoke a change in root architecture, an increase in nutrient uptake, and stimulate the carbon and nitrogen metabolism. This research aimed to evaluate the root application of legume derived PHs in the nutrient solution of a floating raft system for microgreens production in a growth chamber. In this study, the effect on yield, dry matter, and colorimetric attributes of two microgreens species, Lepidium sativum L. (cress) and Brassica oleracea L. var. gongylodes (kohlrabi), was evaluated. The application of PHs in the nutrient solution resulted in a significant increase in fresh yield and an amelioration in the physical and nutritional quality traits, proving the utility of biostimulant application.
Christophe El-Nakhel won the ISHS Young Minds Award for the best poster presentation at the International Symposium on Innovative Technologies and Production Strategies for Sustainable Controlled Environment Horticulture at IHC2022 in France in August 2022.
Christophe El-Nakhel, University of Naples Federico II, Department of Agricultural Sciences (DIA), Via Università 100, 80055 Portici, Italy, e-mail:
The article is available in Chronica HorticulturaeTags: microgreensCategories: Young Minds Award Winners