Variation in content of bioactive components in broccoli

E. H. Jeffery, A. F. Brown, A. C. Kurilich, A. S. Keck, N. Matusheski, B. P. Klein, J. A. Juvik

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The discovery of bioactive components in foods is exciting, suggesting the possibility of improved public health through diet. Yet the content of bioactive components in plant food varies, making quality control and intake recommendations problematic. Variation in content of bioactive components in fruits and vegetables depends upon both genetics and environment, including growing conditions, harvest and storage, processing and meal preparation. Cruciferous vegetables, which contain both anticarcinogenic and antioxidant properties, are excellent examples to illustrate the problem in assessing health benefits of foods that vary in content of bioactive components. In broccoli, the content of both glucosinolates and their bioactive hydrolysis products varies with genotype, environment and processing. Antioxidant vitamins and flavonoid content varies also. Here we review the influences of genetics, environment and post-harvest processing on content of bioactive components in broccoli, an area that is presently only partly understood. Reporting a range for bioactive component content can help the public to make informed choices about diet. For the future, research into the mechanisms behind this variation can lead to an understanding of genetic regulation of these variations, resulting in the generation of a consistent supply of nutritionally enhanced plant foods on the market.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-330
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Food Composition and Analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2003


  • Broccoli
  • Glucoraphanin
  • Glucosinolates
  • Sulforaphane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


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