Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Charleston, South Carolina » Vegetable Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #321011

Research Project: Genetic Enhancement of Watermelon, Broccoli, and Leafy Brassicas for Economically Important Traits

Location: Vegetable Research

Title: Glucoraphanin and other glucosinolates in heads of broccoli cultivars

item Farnham, Mark
item Branham, Sandra

Submitted to: Broccoli: Cultivation, Nutritional Properties and Effects on Health
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/15/2015
Publication Date: 2/1/2016
Citation: Farnham, M.W., Branham, S. 2016. Glucoraphanin and other glucosinolates in heads of broccoli cultivars. Broccoli: Cultivation, Nutritional Properties and Effects on Health. B.H.J. Juurlink (Ed.). Nova Science Publishers. New York, NY. 342 p.

Interpretive Summary: N/A

Technical Abstract: Broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. var. italica) emerged as an increasingly popular vegetable of North American consumers during the second half of the 20th Century, with per captita consumption increasing nearly eight fold during this period. Likewise, production and consumption of broccoli has also increased in Europe and Asia in recent decades. The discovery in 1992 that broccoli heads contain sulforaphane, an isothiocyanate breakdown product thant induces anticarcinogenic protective enzymes in mammalian cells, has stimulated consumer recognition of broccoli as a health-promoting vegetable and likely stimulated increased consumption of this vegetable through present day. This chapter summarizes tthe results of studies that have examined the concentrations of glucosinolates in broccoli heads harvested from known cultivars grown in field studies. Based on those results, we present best estimates of the concentrations of specific compounds like glucoraphanin, glucoiberin, and glucobrassicin that could be expected in broccoli heads purchased by consumers. The importance of genotype as a factor influencing glucosinolate levels is also considered based on results of studies that have examined this. Breeding approaches aimed at enhancing levels of glucoraphanin and progress toward that goal are also presented. Lastly, broccoli seed, which has been shown to contain high levels of glucoraphanin and also glucoiberin, is examined as a potential valuable source for delivery of these glucosinolates.