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Preharvest Methyl Jasmonate Treatment Increased the Antioxidant Activity and Glucosinolate Contents of Hydroponically Grown Pak Choi

  • Baek, Min Woo1, 2
  • Choi, Han Ryul1, 2
  • Solomon, Tifsehit
  • Jeong, Cheon Soon1, 2
  • Lee, Ok-Hwan
  • Tilahun, Shimeles1, 3, 4
  • 1 (C.S.J.)
  • 2 Interdisciplinary Program in Smart Agriculture, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341, Korea
  • 3 Agriculture and Life Science Research Institute, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341, Korea
  • 4 Department of Horticulture and Plant Sciences, Jimma University, Jimma 378, Ethiopia
Published Article
Publication Date
Jan 18, 2021
DOI: 10.3390/antiox10010131
PMID: 33477720
PMCID: PMC7832332
PubMed Central
  • Article


Vertical hydroponics farming has emerged as an alternative solution to feed the continuously growing world population. Additionally, recent studies reported that the exogenous treatments of jasmonic acid influence the phytochemical composition of Brassicaceae. We conducted this study to determine the effect of preharvest methyl jasmonate (MeJA) treatment on the phytochemical composition and antioxidant activities of soil- and hydroponically grown pak choi. An aqueous solution of 0.5-mM MeJA was sprayed to saturation on the aerial plant part three days before harvest. The harvested pak choi was freeze-dried and then powdered to measure the antioxidant activity and the contents of chlorophylls (Chls), total phenolics and flavonoids, and glucosinolates (GSLs). The overall results revealed that pak choi grown in vertical hydroponics had higher total Chls and total phenolics than those grown in soil in the greenhouse, regardless of MeJA treatment. Nevertheless, the GSLs content and total flavonoids increased significantly due to MeJA treatment in both growing systems, and the highest values were recorded in hydroponically grown MeJA-treated pak choi. Similarly, the 2, 2-di-phenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging capacity, Trolox-equivalent antioxidant capacity (ABTS), oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), and ferric-reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) were highest in hydroponically grown MeJA-treated pak choi. Taken together, the preharvest foliar treatment of MeJA can be used to improve the phytochemical composition of pak choi grown in both growing systems. Interestingly, the results strongly support the use of MeJA treatment in the vertical hydroponics growing system compared to the conventional growing system in the soil. This indicates that supplementing the vertical hydroponic growing system with preharvest MeJA treatment could be the best option to improve both the yield per square meter and the quality of pak choi. Besides, MeJA-treated pak choi could be used as a value-added horticultural commodity, as its antioxidant activity increased after treatment. Moreover, after further studies, MeJA could also be applied to other Brassica vegetables to improve their GSL contents and antioxidant properties.

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