The Nutritional and Elemental Analysis of Broccoli Microgreens
Supplemented with Milk versus Water
Tanner Bringhurst, Brenda Renteria, Abdullah Aljadi
Food is a primary source of energy for all organisms to live and thrive. However, on our rapid growing planet, it is projected that global food production will be required to double by
2050 in order to support the estimated global population of 9.7 billion (Ridgway et al. 2015). Many solutions have been proposed to solve this problem. One of the proposed solutions
are microgreens. Migrogreens are edible seedlings of vegetables and herbs (Xiao 2012). They are well suited for growers because they can be harvested in a short period of time
7-14 days (Bliss 2014). In addition, they are relatively easy to grow and can even be grown at home (Treadwell 2010). Although there is some available information, there is still much
more to be discovered about microgreens and if they can be considered as a solid solution to the global food source problem we will face by 2050. Another proposed solution is to
find ways to reduce the waste of food. 20% of milk that consumers buy is wasted alongside many other food products (Gunders 2012). Is there a way to combine these two proposed
solutions to fight off this inevitable problem?
5.1 grams of broccoli microgreens were grown in a
vermi compost mixture hydrated with 25 milliliters water
(top row). 5.1 grams of broccoli microgreens were
grown on a vermi compost mixture but were hydrated
with 25 milliliters of milk instead (bottom row).
Next, the broccoli microgreens were grown in a
spectrophotometer for 7 days. The top row shows
broccoli microgreens after incubation grown in the
powdered milk and water solution. The bottom row
depicts the broccoli microgreens grown in water after
incubation. Microgreens grown in milk were hydrated
first with 50 milliliters of milk and 65 milliliters of water
later in a 7 day period. The microgreens grown in water
were hydrated with a total of 115 milliliters of water in a
7 day period.
The broccoli microgreens were cut from the vermi
compost mixture as close to the compost mixture as
possible without contaminating the samples, weighed,
and prepared to be dehydrated in an oven for 48 hours
at 78℃ under constant light of GE Plant and Aquarium
After dehydration, the microgreens were grinded into a
powder using a ceramic mortar and pestle and then
● How does growing broccoli microgreens with milk vary in terms of an elemental and nutrient concentration compared to growing broccoli microgreens in water?
● Is microgreen cultivation a good enough resource to sustain humans due to depleting food resources?
The samples were sent to Pennsylvania State
University for nutrient and elemental analysis.
Experimental Design Results
Figure 1. Figure 1 shows a graph of the
elemental composition of Potassium and
Sulfur in broccoli microgreens grown with
water, milk, and the mature broccoli.
Broccoli microgreens grown in water
contain the highest amounts of Potassium
and Sulfur compared to the mature broccoli
which has the lowest.
Figure 2. Figure 2 shows a graph of the
elemental composition of Phosphorus,
Calcium, Magnesium, and Sodium in
broccoli microgreens grown in water, milk,
and the mature broccoli. The microgreens
grown in water show the greatest amount
of each of the elements.
Figure 3. Figure 3 shows a graph of the
elemental composition of Manganese, Iron,
Copper Boron, Aluminum, and Zinc in
broccoli microgreens grown in water,milk,
and mature broccoli. The mature broccoli
had the highest amount of Manganese but
overall each ratio of composition was
mostly equivalent between the three
After elemental analysis, data obtained showed that broccoli microgreens grown in water,
compared to broccoli microgreens grown in milk or the mature vegetable, contained greater
levels of elements. Due to this, our data suggests that broccoli microgreens grown in water
are a better source of elemental and nutritional supplement compared to the mature vegetable
(Nutrition Facts: Broccoli, Raw) and microgreens grown in milk. In this experiment, a total of
115 mL of water was used to hydrate the broccoli microgreens compared to 34 gallons of
water per pound needed to water a full grown broccoli plant (Boehrer) making it not only more
nutritious, but environmentally friendly as well due to the much lower consumption of water. In
addition, the area needed for the cultivation of broccoli microgreens and the avoidance of
herbicides were very small compared to the large acres of land needed to grow the mature
vegetable and use of herbicides commercially. Alongside this, broccoli microgreens hydrated
with milk were greatly hindered and had to be hydrated with water in order to prevent death of
the microgreens. Cultivation of these microgreens required only 7 days whereas a mature
broccoli has a longer harvesting time, thus supporting our hypothesis. Growing broccoli
microgreens is a great solution to sustain humans due to depleting food resources and rapid
growing populations. Adding milk to the microgreens to avoid the waste of diary products and
to boost nutritional levels was not found to be a solution.
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