About this Research Topic
Sprouts, microgreens and edible flowers are rising specialty crops regarded as valuable sensory and functional components in global gastronomy. Growing public interest in the consumption of these crops derives from their outstanding organoleptic characters, low fat content and steep bioactive composition highlighted by flavonoids, carotenoids, glucosinolates, vitamins, amino acids and minerals. Consumption of these crops is compelled by current trends toward diversified diets that support health and longevity. The production of sprouts and microgreens involves significant physiological events associated with the germination process that relate to the mobilization of seed reserves, such as the catabolism of carbohydrate, lipid and protein macromolecules, which fuel the ontogeny of seedlings but also deliver more readily digestible forms of food for human consumption. In the case of microgreens, ontogeny extends to the emergence of the first true leaves and involves more prolonged photosynthetic activity and responsiveness to light conditions and nutrient supplementation. Species selection, fertilization-biofortification, eustress applications, light intensity, photoperiod, waveband and growth stage at harvest impact microgreens physiology and can modulate crop sensory and functional quality. In the case of edible flowers, although their gastronomic role was initially rather restrained to the appearance, taste and aesthetic value of foods, it is now evident that the immense repository of candidate species may include ones of significant nutritional, antioxidant and antimicrobial value. Sprouts, microgreens and edible flowers are all highly respiring, highly perishable products that warrant appropriate postharvest handling. Their quality, shelf-life and microbial safety is significantly modulated by temperature, atmospheric composition, lighting and packaging technology. Expansion of the niche in the horticultural supply chain for these specialty crops will benefit from scientific output on the response to preharvest and postharvest applications that can enhance these products’ sensory and functional profile.
This Research Topic encompasses Original Research, Technology Reports, Methods, Opinions and Perspectives (but not Reviews or Mini-reviews) dissecting the major preharvest factors implicated in the production of sprouts, microgreens and edible flowers, such as genotype, substrate and nutrition, light and temperature conditions, and growth stage at harvest, addressed with respect to crop physiology, quality and microbial safety. Analytical aspects of submitted works must be of high standard (e.g. HPLC/ GC/ Mass Spectrometry). In addition, the potential role of genetic improvement and molecular research aiming to enhance the phytochemical content of sprouts, microgreens and edible flowers will be considered within the general scope of the Research Topic. Descriptive studies that report responses of growth, yield or quality to agronomical treatments will not be considered if they do not progress physiological understanding of these responses. We highly believe that this compilation of high standard scientific papers on sprouts, microgreens and edible flowers will foster discussions within this new field.
Keywords: Food Composition Data, Sprouts, Microgreens, Edible Flowers, Functional Foods, Healthy Diets, Nutrition, Quality
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.