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PEMF Effect on Growth, Physiology and Postharvest Quality of Kale


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Lab of Molecular Endocrinology, Center of Clinical, Experimental Surgery and Translational Research, Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens, 11527 Athens, Greece
Department of Informatics, Faculty of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, King’s College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS, UK
Correspondence: nkatsenios@gmail.com (N.K.); sissyefthimiadou@gmail.com (A.E.)
agronomy
Article
Effect of Pulsed Electromagnetic Field on Growth, Physiology and Postharvest Quality of Kale (Brassica oleracea), Wheat (Triticum durum) and Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) Microgreens
Nikolaos Katsenios 1,* , Miltiadis V. Christopoulos 2 , Ioanna Kakabouki 3 , Dimitrios Vlachakis 4,5,6 , Victor Kavvadias 1 and Aspasia Efthimiadou 1,*
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Citation: Katsenios,N.; Christopoulos, M.V.; Kakabouki, I.; Vlachakis, D.; Kavvadias, V.; Efthimiadou, A. Effect of Pulsed Electromagnetic Field on Growth, Physiology and Postharvest Quality of Kale (Brassica oleracea), Wheat (Triticum durum) and Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) Microgreens. Agronomy2021,11,1364. https:// doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11071364
Academic Editor: Daniela Romano
Received: 16 June 2021 Accepted: 1 July 2021 Published: 4 July 2021
Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affil- iations.
Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 4.0/).
Abstract: Microgreens’ popularity is increasing worldwide, and many efforts are focused on novel techniques that could increase fresh production without affecting the quality and the shelf life of the young plants. Three species of microgreens (kale, durum wheat, and spinach) were cultivated in a greenhouse experiment in November–December 2020. Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) was applied at three different growth stages (seed, newly developed plant, and before harvest) and three different times of exposure at each stage, while untreated seeds were used as control. According to the results, certain PEMF treatments increased fresh weight for all three plant species, while dry weight was higher in the treated plants for wheat and spinach, compared to the control. As for the color parameters L*, a*, and b*, at the harvest and postharvest, PEMF treatments had no negative effects, either at harvest or at green color retention, during storage. Moreover, PEMF treatments improved green color in wheat, and restricted yellow color in spinach. An important finding regarding respiration was that PEMF treatments increased both O2 consumption and CO2 production for durum wheat and CO2 production for spinach.
Keywords: microgreen; wheat; kale; spinach; PEMF; postharvest
1. Introduction
Microgreens are new specialty food products that are constantly attracting increas- ing attention from consumers worldwide as they have high concentrations of bioactive substances [1] and mineral nutrients [2]. Microgreens have gained popularity among consumers due to their crispy textures, vibrant colors, and intense flavors [3]. They are considered as a new category of edible vegetables and they are used as an edible garnish or as a salad ingredient [4]. Studies have shown that microgreens are important sources of nutrients (ascorbic acid, tocopherols, carotenoids, phenolics, and trace elements) in concentrations higher than the corresponding conventional mature products [3,5,6].
Microgreens are tiny versions of ordinary plants produced from the seeds of vegetables, herbs, or cereals, and their final edible form contains two fully developed cotyledons with the first pair of true leaves that emerged. Unlike sprouts and baby leaf, whose specifications
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Department of Soil Science of Athens, Institute of Soil and Water Resources, Hellenic Agricultural Organization-Demeter, Sofokli Venizelou 1, Lycovrissi, 14123 Attica, Greece; vkavvadias.kal@nagref.gr Institute of Technology of Agricultural Products, Hellenic Agricultural Organization—Demeter, Sofokli Venizelou 1, Lykovrissi, 14123 Attica, Greece; miltchrist@yahoo.gr
Laboratory of Agronomy, Department of Crop Science, Agricultural University of Athens, 75 Iera Odos Str., 11855 Athens, Greece; i.kakabouki@gmail.com
Laboratory of Genetics, Department of Biotechnology, School of Food, Biotechnology and Development, Agricultural University of Athens, 11855 Athens, Greece; dimvl@aua.gr
Agronomy 2021, 11, 1364. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11071364 https://www.mdpi.com/journal/agronomy

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