Recently I saw seedlings on sale. And the seller said that these seedlings can be eaten and are very useful for health. They are also known as microgreens.

I was very interested in this and I found information on YouTube about how they are grown:

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Youtube "Microgreen Nutrient"

Most of the videos show what fertilizers are added to hydroponics water system. And in my opinion, it can be dangerous for health.

The reason is that the mature plants may be working as a filter, and therefore the fertilizers remain at the bottom, and we only eat the fruits. And these microgreens seem to be simply soaked in fertilizers. It can't be good.

Can you explain why these seedlings are considered healthy?

  • 1
    Are you confusing plant food with human food? The bottle pictured is for feeding plants, not for eating. Microgreens as food is sprouts and salad. The numbers 4-2-3 are a giveaway it's plant food high in Nitrogen. Also, fish emulsion is not fish but fish manure, notably high in Nitrogen for lush leafy growth ... in plants. The smell is not good. Jul 4, 2023 at 13:49
  • "we only eat the fruits" -- hmm, what about e.g. lettuce, onions, kohlrabi, carrots, potatoes, ginger... the list goes on and on. | The fertilizer provides the things the plant needs to build more of itself. Without Nitrogen, you get no chlorophyll or proteins. Without Phosphorus, you get no DNA/RNA, etc.
    – Dan Mašek
    Jul 4, 2023 at 13:49
  • @YosefBaskin Fish emulsion is not "fish manure" -- it is the liquid left after processing of fish (either whole or carcasses), after oils and solids were removed.
    – Dan Mašek
    Jul 4, 2023 at 14:00
  • @YosefBaskin I wanted to say that when the seeds are watered with this fertilizer, they are completely soaked with it. And it turns out that we eat this fertilizer, so we can harm ourselves Jul 5, 2023 at 17:38
  • @dan-mašek We eat all these plants when they are already grown and ripe. And here it turns out that we eat fertilizer, because these sprouts cannot be suitable for food in a few days. And if I'm wrong, then explain how these sprouts become safe from fertilizer Jul 5, 2023 at 17:42

2 Answers 2


Microgreens are considered healthy food because they can provide many nutrients that are absolutely essential for humans to eat. Here is a list of 49 nutrients for a healthy human diet. The microgreens will be especially high in the last three columns.

Table showing the 49 nutrients human beings are known to require, broken into the sections "Water and Energy", "Protien (amino acids)", "Lipids-fat (fatty acids)", "Macro-elements", "Micro-elements", and "Vitamins" Welch, Ross & Graham, Robin. (2004). Breeding for micronutrients in staple food crops from a human nutrition perspective. Journal of experimental botany. 55. 353-64. 10.1093/jxb/erh064.

Here is some of the nutritional content of broccoli microgreens according to Microgreen World and of mature broccoli according to the US Food and Drug Administration. You can see that the microgreens offer significantly higher levels of many important nutrients.

Macro-elements 100g of broccoli microgreens 100g of mature broccoli
Calcium (Ca) 88 mg 47 mg
Magnesium (Mg) 51 mg 21 mg
Phosphorous (P) 69 mg 66 mg
Potassium (K) 326 mg 316 mg
Sodium (Na) 52 mg 33 mg
Micro-element minerals 100g of broccoli microgreens 100g of mature broccoli
Iron (Fe) 0.67 mg 0.73 mg
Zinc (Zn) 0.37 mg 0.41 mg
Copper (Cu) 0.09 mg 0.049 mg
Manganese (Mn) 0.37 mg 21 mg
Vitamin Content 100g of broccoli microgreens 100g of mature broccoli
Vitamin A (ᵦ-carotene) 221.80 mg 31 µg
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) 51.0 mg 89.2 mg
Vitamin E (tocepherol) 24.1 mg 0.78 mg
Vitamin K (Phylloquinone) 2.8 µg 102 µg
Other Nutrients 100g of broccoli microgreens 100g of mature broccoli
Fiber 410 mg 260 mg
Broccoli Microgreens Protein 2.3 g 2.82 g

But there is still the question, are they tainted by the fertilizer? I found a brochure for the fertilizer in your question, MicroLife Liquid Organics Ocean Harvest liquid fertilizer. It lists these ingredients:

Homogenous, liquid concentrated All Organic fertilizer containing: Ecklonia Maxima Kelp extracted through patented cell burst technology process, Fish Hydrolysate manufactured via natural enzymatic extraction, Blackstrap Molasses, Humic Acid, Fulvic Acid, Select Amino Acids profile, Select Natural Plant Hormone/Natural Plant Stimulator/Natural Vitamin profile, Calcium Phosphate, Arcanite, Selected Sugars and Tryptic Soy Agar. No heat is used in the manufacturing process to ensure purity of ingredients. Contains the following Select Amino Acid profile: L-Alanine, L-Argine, L-Aspartic, L-Cystine, L-Glutamic Acid, L-Glycine, L-Histidine, L-Isoleucine, L-Leucine, L-Lysine, L-Methionine, L-Phenylalanine, L-Proline, L-Threonine, L-Serine, L-Tryptophan, L-Tyrosine, L-Valine Contains the following Plant Hormones, Plant Growth Stimulators and Vitamins: Auxins, Cytokinins, Gibberellins, Abscissic Acid (ABA), Adenine, Indole Acetic Acid (IAA), Adenosine, Zeatin, A (Carotene), B1, B12, C, D, E, K, Biotin, Niacin, Choline, Pantothene, Folic Acid, Follinic Acid. All MicroLife products are protected by patented technology and proprietary manufacturing processes.

and to my ignorant eyes, there isn't anything I would consider a contaminant. There is also a material safety data sheet which does say that it isn't carcinogenic and recommends relatively mild first aid responses to over exposure. So I personally feel safe eating microgreens grown with this, although there absolutely are fertilizers and other agriculture chemicals that I am not comfortable with. In the end, it's about trusting the grower to follow responsible practices.


The microgreens may be grown in soil. They still absorb chemicals from the soil. Growing in hydroponics is no different.

They are still a plant and are using the sun for photosynthesis. Which means they are converting whatever they would in either medium.

By your argument it would be dangerous to eat any leafy greens, and it should be worse to eat carrots. Clearly it is not.

Only the roots are immersed in the water anyway. And as far as I know, you don't eat the whole plant, just the leaves from the top.

At the end of the day you should do what you feel is right.

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