Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Plant Sciences

Major Professor

Dean Kopsell

Committee Members

Carl Sams, Jerome Grant, Natalie Bumgarner


Specialty leafy greens are excellent sources of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Many of these metabolites are influenced by microclimate environmental conditions and genotype. The objective of this thesis was to measure the impacts of abiotic factors on plant growth and development along with nutritional content of specialty leafy greens in controlled environments. Chapter one looks at changes in biomass and nutritional content of different microgreen cultivars grown in a greenhouse over four growing seasons. Chapter two looks at the influence of light-emitting diode (LED) treatments on the growth and nutritional content of hydroponically grown kale. The morphology and nutritional content of hydroponically grown kale plants were significantly impacted by LED treatment. LED treatments with higher proportion of blue light had significantly shorter plants and greater fresh mass (FM) as compared to all other LED treatments. Environmental and genetic factors influenced the growth and development, as well as impacted the nutritional content of the different microgreen cultivars. Brassica microgreens had the highest FM and shortest production times throughout all seasons, as compared to the herb and lettuce microgreens. Whereas, the herb microgreens had the highest concentrations of shoot tissue carotenoids and minerals, as compared to brassica and lettuce microgreens. Results from this thesis provides valuable production data for producers who grow specialty leafy greens in controlled environments. Nutritional data among microgreen species may contribute to consumer knowledge for healthy eating choices.

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