Subscribe to Canada Free Press for FREE

Treating broccoli sprouts with high pressure, rather than heat, could help preserve their health-promoting compounds.

Ensuring broccoli sprouts retain their cancer-fighting compounds


By --September 25, 2017

Comments | Print Friendly-- Fewer Ads | Subscribe | Email Us

Raw broccoli sprouts, a rich source of potential cancer-fighting compounds, have become a popular health food in recent years. But conventional heat treatment used to kill bacteria on produce can reduce levels of the broccoli sprouts’ helpful phytochemicals. Now researchers report in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that high-pressure processing could wipe out harmful bacteria while maintaining high concentrations of its health-promoting ingredients.

Research has found that broccoli sprouts contain anywhere from 10 to 100 times more glucosinolates than their mature counterparts. Glucosinolates are the main compounds in broccoli and its sprouts that are transformed into isothiocyanates when chopped or chewed. Studies suggest that isothiocyanates have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory activity. To help prevent bacterial contamination, the sprouts can be heated, but high temperatures can affect the conversion of glucosinolates to isothiocyanates. So Volker Böhm and colleagues wanted to explore an alternative method for getting rid of broccoli sprouts’ microbial contamination.

The researchers treated sprouts with high pressure, a method that is sometimes used to ensure the safety of seeds, fruits and vegetables while preserving heat-sensitive nutrients. Results showed that processing broccoli sprouts at 400 to 600 megapascals increased the amount of glucosinolates that turned into isothiocyanates. Up to 85 percent of glucosinolates were converted under high-pressure processing, boosting the plants’ potential health-promoting compounds. The rate of conversion for mild heat treatment at 60 degrees Celsius was 69 percent. Isothiocyanate content in boiled samples were undetectable or not quantifiable. Thus, the researchers say high pressure could be a preferred method over heating for processing broccoli sprouts.

The authors acknowledge funding from the Ohio State University Center for Advanced Functional Foods Research and Entrepreneurship.

High Pressure Processing of Broccoli Sprouts - Influence on Bioactivation of Glucosinolates to Isothiocyanates



American Chemical Society -- Bio and Archives | Comments

American Chemical Society, ACS is a congressionally chartered independent membership organization which represents professionals at all degree levels and in all fields of chemistry and sciences that involve chemistry.

Commenting Policy

Please adhere to our commenting policy to avoid being banned. As a privately owned website, we reserve the right to remove any comment and ban any user at any time.

Comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence, racism, anti-Semitism, or personal or abusive attacks on other users may be removed and result in a ban.
-- Follow these instructions on registering: