A sprout is the first leaf or stem to emerge from a plant’s seed. When plants sprout, they synthesize enzymes, vitamins, and amino acids for growth and to defend themselves against fungi and bacteria. Because of this, some sprouts are considered to be more nutritious than full-grown plants. Since there are some effects that can only be produced by mature sprouts, many health food manufacturers are doing various researches to grow sprouts with good efficacy or to make products with sprouts.
Growing nutritious sprouts with smart farms
Creating healthy foods with superior functionality
Jusung Farm, an agricultural company, develops agri-food and beverage products with raw materials based on the excellent nutritional and functional properties of sprouts with the vision of ‘green bio based on sprouts’.
In a sprout, a lot of metabolic activity takes place to germinate from a seed and grow in a short period of time. As such, sprouts are known for being rich in nutrients and functional substances. “Sprouted barley is the richest in bioactive ingredients, so much so that the nutritional value of one kilogram of sprouted barley is equivalent to 20 kilograms of other vegetables,” says Japanese nutritionist Dr. Yoshihide Hagiwara. Jusung Farm focuses on the composition of these sprouts: sprouted barley, sprouted wheat, and sprouted oats are rich in cholesterol-lowering policosanols, saponins, polyphenols, and gaba, and sprouted broccoli contains up to 50 times more sulforaphane, a known anti-cancer compound than mature broccoli. CEO Beongchun Kim says “The metabolic activity of the buds as they ignite and grow is called metabolism, and there are many nutritional and functional substances in the buds at this time, which help with many of the obesity, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and cardiovascular diseases we see in people nowadays.”
The company cultivates through smart farms that meet ESG standards. A sprout smart farm uses an indoor medium-free vertical aerial cultivation system, so it is possible to standardize cultivation by crop through carefully selected seeds, clean underground rock water, optimized LED lighting, etc. Stability and nutrition are secured by blocking pollution sources and managing microorganisms, and productivity is secured through a complex greenhouse and cultivation environment control technology. The sprouts grown in these smart farms are strong, vigorous shoots that grow more than 10 centimeters in five to eight days. They are also richer in nutrients such as beta-glucans, beta-carotene, and dietary fiber. Jusung uses this sprouted barley to produce powdered sprouted barley tea, chocolate sprout chewables, smoke oil, and sulforacol SMC products.
Growing chelated mineral buds with high uptake utilization
Used as a cosmetic and livestock material
What makes Jusung’s buds so special is that they are chelated mineral buds with SMC (Sprout Mineral Chelated) technology. The body needs to get minerals from outside sources, but minerals in their metallic state can be harmful to the body. On the other hand, chelated mineral ions, which are produced in the body of animals and plants in organic form, are easily absorbed by the body and are not toxic. Combining this, the company is growing chelated mineral sprouts by hydroponics with ‘mineral ionized water’.
Sprouts grown hydroponically with mineralized ionized water have a high absorption-utilization ratio due to the presence of organic chelating minerals, which can be absorbed by the body immediately upon ingestion. As such, they are highly effective in supporting the body’s physiological functions. Among these organic chelators, germanium and selenium have been shown to help prevent cancer and adult diseases, as well as delay aging and improve immune function.
Jusung cultivates sprouts with these benefits through a smart farm system that can mass cultivate more than 10 species, and plans to apply them to cosmetics and livestock. The company is also working on commercializing sprouted broccoli and has been showing products using sprouts at overseas exhibitions. CEO Kim says “We will have distribution channels to promote and sell our products, and we will continue to grow not only domestically but also globally.”
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