Sensory Attributes and Phytochemical Composition in Microgreens: Implications for Acceptability Among School Students in Selangor, Malaysia


Abstract. Microgreens, the young seedlings of edible plants, have gained attention for their potential health benefits and culinary applications. This newly emerging functional food crop has the potential to sustainably diversify global food systems, facilitate urbanization and climate change responses, and advance human health. However, their reception among school students remains an understudied area, particularly in the Malaysian context. In this study, five microgreens species including ulam raja, red amaranth, red radish, daikon, and corn were evaluated for their sensory perception and acceptability among secondary school students in Selangor, and their phytochemical compositions. Among the evaluated species, corn exhibited the highest intensity of sweetness, ulam raja demonstrated a strong aroma and bitterness, while red radish was notable for its astringency and heat. Red amaranth had the highest intensity of grassy taste, and all five microgreens had a low score for sourness. Corn had the highest rating on acceptability of flavor and overall eating quality, signifying its favorable impression among students. Conversely, red radish and ulam raja received the lowest acceptability scores in both categories. The highest total phenolic and flavonoid content and antioxidant activity was exhibited in ulam raja. These findings suggest the potential to leverage corn’s favorable acceptability to introduce microgreens into student diets. In general, this study highlights the correlation between sensory attributes and phytochemical composition, both influencing the Malaysian students’ perceptions of microgreens. By understanding their preferences, educators, policymakers, and entrepreneurs can formulate effective strategies for healthier eating habits among the youth and develop successful commercialization strategies.

Keywords: flavor, food systems, healthy diet, microgreens, student acceptance

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