Microgreen Research

This section of the website offers a deeper look at up-to-date research around microgreens, and specifically the varieties grown at Chuckleberry Farm. Below, you will find a general research overview of microgreens, as well as in-depth sections of information for each variety. See bottom of page for cited references.


Microgreens General



Multiple researchers have reported increased levels of polyphenols, anthocyanins, antioxidants, nutrients and enzymes, in microgreens, as compared to mature vegetables. The exact content varies by type of vegetable, as well as the growing conditions.

Antioxidants scavenge and prevent effects of free radicals. A free radical is defined as an atom, molecule, or ion that is extremely chemically reactive. They are known to damage cells. Polyphenols (contributing to color and taste of plants), anthocyanins (also contribute to vibrant colors), various vitamins (such as A, E, B-Carotene) and enzymes may all exhibit antioxidant activity in the body.

In addition to the benefits of antioxidants, the significantly increased amounts of nutrition, vitamins, and minerals simply provide the building blocks of life itself. In order for the body to maintain health, a large supply of molecules are needed to manage a highly complex machine: our body. Microgreens offer an extremely nutrient dense and bio-available source of compounds for the body!

Selected quotes from Research Papers (Microgreens General)


Several studies have reported higher levels of nutrients and lower contents of antinutrients in sprouts compared to the ungerminated seeds”3

Anthocyanins, the most important group of coloured flavonoids within phenols, protect against the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and other chronic degenerative conditions.”1

Antioxidant activity of seeds was generally found to increase during germination. The sprouts of radish demonstrated the highest antioxidant activity, evaluated using the ABTS method, followed by sunflower sprouts.”3

Some authors indicate, that sprouts contain significantly more concentrated nutrients, such as vitamin C, B vitamins and polyphenols, as well as they exhibit higher antioxidant potential, than the seeds or mature vegetable. They are an excellent example of “functional foods”, which can reduce the risk of developing of various diseases due to the content of bioactive components.”11

The polyphenol content in fresh sprout mass in the current study positively correlated with the antioxidant potential (FRAP, ABTS), what is in agreement with the own previously published studies and the others”11

Immature leaves of the microgreens tend to possess higher lutein/zeaxanthin concentration than their fully grown plant counterparts.”8



Daikon Shoots


Daikon Label sing

Daikon Shoots belong to the Brassica family of vegetables, which are well known for their anti-carcinogenic (cancer prevention) properties, as well as their glucosinolate content.

Glucosinolates are suggested to contribute to anti-cancer and protective effects as well as prevention and alleviation of metabolic disorders. Additionally, researchers have specifically recognized Daikon Shoots for their nutritive and antioxidant qualities in the following: Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, phylloquinone (Vitamin K1), folic acid, fiber, minerals, phytochemicals, carotenoids.

Phytochemicals are non-nutritive, plant compounds that are suggested to have protective properties. They can stimulate enzymes, regulate hormonal pathways, act as an anti-bacterial, exhibit antioxidative effects, and much more. Carotenoids are a class of phytochemicals, and are pigments that provide vibrant color to plants, similarly to anthocyanins. Some carotenoids are converted to Vitamin A, while others may assist in anti-inflammatory functions and regulation of the immune system. Mostly, they are also known to exhibit antioxidative effects.



Selected quotes from Research Papers (Daikon Shoots)


Several studies have demonstrated that brassica sprouts are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid, dietary fibre and minerals, as well as of a high variety of phytochemicals, namely glucosinolates (GLs) and phenols”1

The positive health effect of brassica vegetables against various pathologies and chronic diseases, recently reviewed by Dinkova-Kostova and Kostov (2012), is widely recognised to be due to GLs”1

Japanese radish (Daikon) sprouts administered as a lyophilised powder have the potential to alleviate hyperglycaemia in diabetes cases and are effective in the primary prevention of diabetes mellitus in animal models”1

It is demonstrated that GRH-ITC has interesting antioxidant/radical scavenging properties: GL glucoraphasatin is GRH and its corresponding ITC 4-methylthio-3-butenyl isothiocyanite is GRH-ITC. GRH-ITC obtained from R. sativus L. (kaiware daikon) sprouts can be regarded as a promising chemopreventive agent.”2

Among the 25 microgreens assayed, red cabbage, cilantro, garnet amaranth, and green daikon radish had the highest concentrations of ascorbic acids, carotenoids, phylloquinone, and tocopherols, respectively.”8

Green daikon radish has extremely high α- and γ-tocopherol (Vitamin E) contents of 87.4 and 39.4 mg/100 g FW, respectively”8

Brassica sprouts, in particular broccoli (Brassicaoleracea var. italica) and radish (Raphanus sativus L.) sprouts, contain substantial amount of antioxidants, vitamin C and health-promoting compounds such as glucosinolates and phenolic compounds”10



Sunflower Shoots


Sunny Label singResearchers have recognized the increased nutritional content of Sunflower shoots as compared to seeds, and particularly of the following compounds: antioxidants, phenolics, melatonin, isoflavone, lysine, chlorophyll, carotenoid, sugars, and lipids.

Plant phenolics are another class of phytochemicals, and in fact the largest group of them all. Phenolics are active compounds that are suggested to express disease-preventative properties when consumed. Isoflavones are yet another class of phytochemicals, and are actually phytoestrogens, meaning they express estrogen-like effects in the body. They are potent antioxidants, however may be especially useful for hormone balance and regulation, especially in women.

Melatonin is a hormone most often associated with regulation of our sleep-wake cycle, though it plays an important role in many other body processes, including gastrointestinal health and cardiovascular health. Maintenance of the body clock naturally has a systemic-wide influence on wellness.

Lysine is one of many amino acids of which sunflower shoots contain, and of which are available in abundant amounts. These are the building blocks for proteins and enzymes in the body.

Chlorophyll is a superfood and plant pigment, often noted for its benefits to regulating the immune system, improving digestion, and more!

Selected quotes from Research Papers (Sunflower Shoots)


Given the key roles of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and oxidation in the pathogenesis of diabetes, the sunflower sprout H. annuus rich in cynarin may be regarded as a beneficial food choice for diabetic patients.”4

Sunflower sprouts showed higher antioxidant activity than sunflower seeds, due mainly to the increased antioxidant compounds during sprouting. In view of increased interests in healthy foods from a natural origin, increasing utilization of sunflower sprouts in human foods appears realistic.”5

Sprouting of sunflower seeds improved DPPH radical scavenging activity, probably due to the increased total phenolic, melatonin, and total isoflavone contents.”5

Sprouted sunflower seeds had a 20% increase in lysine content with no significant decrease in the protein content. This indicates that sprouted sunflower seeds have a higher nutritional quality than raw seeds.”5

The total chlorophyll and carotenoid contents of the germinating seeds of both cultivars (of sunflower seeds) significantly increased”12

Significant changes occur in the pigment, sugar, lipid and protein metabolisms during germination and early seedling growth period of sunflower.”12


Pea Shoots


Pea Label sing

Thus far, research on Pea Shoots primarily notes the content and benefits of phenolic acids. As previously described, phenolic phytochemicals are known to express disease-preventative properties. Additionally, in the context of Pea Shoots, they are noted to play a role in controlling H. Pylori infections. This is suggestive of their natural antibiotic and antibacterial properties in controlling other infections or illnesses.

Other significant roles of Pea Shoots plant phenolics include: antioxidant, anticarcinogenetic, anti-viral, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic, and anti-diabetic.

Though in addition to phenolic properties, Pea Shoots, too, are recognized for their overall increase in nutritive properties upon sprouting. The bioactive components available upon sprouting have massive profiles of healing properties and functions. As an example, there is promising evidence for their role in the management of metabolic disorders, especially hyperglycemia and diabetes.


Selected quotes from Research Papers (Pea Shoots)


Natural phenolics from dietary plants have the potential to prevent H. pylori infection (Tabak et al.1999; Tombola et al. 2003). Therefore, the potential use of natural phenolic phytochemicals from dietary legumes such as pea [sprouts] to control H. pylori was investigated.”6

The potential to use natural phenolic phytochemicals from pea sprouts to control H. pylori was found to be promising.”6

Previous studies have determined that sprouting is an in-expensive and effective method for increasing the nutritive and nutraceutical quality of legumes”7

Phenolics are the products of a secondary metabolism in plants and possess a wide range of bioactivities. These activities include antioxidant, anti-carcinogenesis, anti-viral, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic, and anti-diabetic potential”7

Seven different phenolic acids (gallic, chloro-genic, o-phthalic, p-hydroxybenzoic, caffeic, p-coumaric, andferulic acid) and four flavonoids (rutin, phloridzin, resveratrol,and kaempferol) were detected in the pea sprouts”7

It is clear that phenolic-enriched pea sprouts have high antioxidant activity, ACE 1 inhibitory activity and also good inhibitory activity on carbohydrate-modulating enzyme such as alpha-glucosidase related to glucose absorption in the intestine.”9

Through phenolic and diet-based control of hyperglycemia, there is the potential ability to manage diabetes-related complications.”9

Many bioactive components in phenolic-enriched pea seedling extracts can be additional potential hurdles to counter the complications of these major chronic diseases, because of their bioactive ingredient profiles with multiple functions.”9



Referenced Resources

  1. Nicola G, Bagatta M., Pagnotta E., Angelino D., Gennari L., Ninfali P., Rollin P., Iori R. Comparison of bioactive phytochemical content and release of isothiocyanates in selected brassica sprouts. Food Science. 2013; 141(1): 297-303.
  2. Papi A, Orlandi M, Bartolini G, Barillari J, Iori R, Paolini M, Ferroni F, Grazia Fumo M, Pedulli GF, Valgimigli L. Cytotoxic and antioxidant activity of 4-methylthio-3-butenyl isothiocyanate from Raphanus sativus L. (Kaiware Daikon) sprouts. Journal of Agriculture and food chemistry. 2008; 56(3) 875-883.
  3. Pająk P, Socha R, Gałkowska D, Rożnowski J, Fortuna T. Phenolic profile and antioxidant activity in selected seeds and sprouts. Food Chemistry. 2014; 143: 300-306.
  4. Sun Z, Chen J, Ma J, Jiang Y, Wang M, Ren G, Chen F. Cynarin-rich sunflower (Helianthus annuus) sprouts possess both antiglycative and antioxidant activities. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. 2012; 60(12): 3260-3265.
  5. H. Cho, H.K No, and W. Prinyawtwatkul. Chitosan treatments Affect growth and Selected Quality of Sunflower Sprouts. JFS S: Sensory and Food Quality. 2008; 3: S70-S77.
  6. Ho CH., Lin YT., LABBE R.G., and Shetty K. Inhibition of Helicobacter Pylori by Phenolic extracts of Sprouted Peas (Pisum Sativum L.) Journal of Food Biochemistry. 2006; 30: 21-34.
  7. Liu H., Chen Y., Hu T., Zhang S, Zhang Y., Zhao T., Yu H., Kang Y. The influence of light-emitting diodes on the phenolic compounds and antioxidant activities in pea sprouts. Journal of Functional Foods. 2016; 25: 459-465.
  8. Xiao Z., Lester g., Luo Y., Wang Q. Assessment of Vitamin and Carotenoid Concentrations of Emerging Food Products: Edible Microgreens. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2012; 7644-7651.
  9. Burguieres E., McCue P., Kwon Y., and Shetty K. Health-Related Functionality of Phenolic-Enriched pea Sprouts in Relation to Diabetes and Hypertension Management. Journal of Food Biochemistry. 2008; 32: 314.
  10. Yuan G., Wang X., Guo R. Wang Q. Effect of salt stress on phenolic compounds, glucosinolates, myrosinase, and antioxidant activity in radish sprouts. Food Chemistry. 2010; 121: 2014-1019.
  11. Zujko M.E., Terlikowska K.M., Zujko K., Paurk A., Witkowska A.M. Sprouts as potential sources of dietary antioxidants in human nutrition. Prog Health Sci. 2016; 6: 77-83.
  12. Erbas S., Tonguc M., Karakurt Y., Sanli A. Mobilization of seed reserves during germination and early seedling growth of two sunflower cultivars. Journal of Applied Botany and Food Quality. 2016; 89: 217-222.