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  • Author or Editor: Moo Jung Kim x
  • HortScience x
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Kale (Brassica oleracea L. and other species) is considered a rich source of important minerals. Kale at the early stage of leaf development is assumed to contain higher levels of minerals than at maturity. However, literature supporting this assumption is scarce. In this study, the concentrations of macronutrients [potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and phosphorus (P)] and micronutrients [sodium (Na), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), and copper (Cu)] either essential to plant growth and development, or important to human health, were determined. Three kale cultivars (green leaf ‘Dwarf Blue Curled’ and red leaf ‘Scarlet’ in B. oleracea, and green leaf with purple midvein ‘Red Russian’ in Brassica napus) were evaluated at five different leaf developmental stages; cotyledon [microgreen 1 (MG1)], two true leaf [microgreen 2 (MG2)], four true leaf [baby leaf 1 (BL1)], six true leaf [baby leaf 2 (BL2)], and adult. As kale matured, total mineral (ash) decreased from 14.6–19.1% at the microgreen stages to 3.9–6.4% at the adult stage, on a dry weight (DW) basis. Microgreen kale contained higher concentrations of most minerals than adult kale, on a DW basis, in all cultivars. On a fresh weight (FW) (as consumed) basis, the highest level of total mineral concentration was detected at baby leaf stage 1 (1.3–1.7%) and there was no difference between microgreen and adult stages. Fresh microgreens generally contained lower K, Ca, Mg, Fe, and Zn than fresh baby leaves, and lower concentrations of Ca and Mg and higher Na compared with fresh adult kale. Overall, water content deceased from 95.1% at MG1 stage to 80.0% at adult stage. The variation in water content and mineral accumulation during leaf development might contribute to the discrepancy. In addition, fresh leaves of ‘Scarlet’ contained higher concentration of total minerals than that of ‘Dwarf Blue Curled’ or ‘Red Russian’. Although ‘Dwarf Blue Curled’ and ‘Red Russian’ are different species, their mineral content profile during leaf development was similar. Together, cultivar and leaf developmental stage influenced mineral content in kale.

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