Hormone spraying may help maximise broccoli's healthy potential

Hormone spraying may help maximise broccoli's healthy potential

Spraying commercial broccoli with a plant hormone could increase levels of potentially healthy glucosinolates and glucosinolate metabolites, say researchers.

Broccoli is already suggested to be one of the planet's most nutritious foods. But now rsearchers believe they may be able to increase levels of glucosinolates that are suggested to have anti-cancer potential by spraying the vegetable with a plant hormone called methyl jasmonate.

Writing in the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry, the research team tested five commercial types of broccoli by spraying them in the field with the hormone - finding that spraying increased levels of glucosinolates and other potentially healthful compounds, in addition to increasing levels of important breakdown metabolites such as sulforaphane by more than 150%.

Led by John Juvik from the University of Illinois, USA, the research team suggested that their findings could help industry produce even better, more healthful broccoli.

Study details

Juvik and his team tested the influence of methyl jasmonate spray treatments (250 μM) on the composition of glucosinolate compounds in the florets of five commercial broccoli types: ‘Pirate’, ‘Expo’, ‘Green Magic’, ‘Imperial’, and ‘Gypsy’.

All broccoli were grown in replicated field plantings in 2009 and 2010.

They reported that methyl jasmonate (MeJA) treatment significantly increased glucoraphanin (11%), gluconasturtiin (59%), and neoglucobrassicin (248%) concentrations and their hydrolysis products including sulforaphane (152%), phenethyl isothiocyanate (318%), N-methoxyindole-3-carbinol (313%), and neoascorbigen (232%) extracted from florets of these genotypes over two seasons.

Increased quinone reductase (QR) activity was significantly correlated with increased levels of sulforaphane, N-methoxyindole-3-carbinol, and neoascorbigen, they added.

"These results suggest that methyl jasmonate treatment can enhance QR inducing activity by increased hydrolysis of glucoraphanin into sulforaphane and the hydrolysis products of neoglucobrassicin," said the team.

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Comments (3)

Jennifer - 04 Nov 2013 | 05:36

GMO is bad for everyone, do not be fooled.

It is GMO - Genetically Modified. If governments were truly interested in the health potential of food, they would invest in sustainable biodynamic agriculture which replenishes soil and seed health instead of inventing new "hormone sprays". This is corporate greed to control the food supply with their I.P. replacement of natural healthy food. There is nothing made by man that competes with nature. Replenish the eco system. That is the only path to true health for humans and the planet.

04-Nov-2013 at 17:36 GMT

Teri - 31 Oct 2013 | 06:38

Natural Pesticide? Safe?

From what I had read in various comments & that struck me was this: overproduction or spraying of methyl jasmonate has negative effects on seed production and the 'elastic' ability of plants to quickly adapt to changing environmental factors. Much research is still needed before being used as a natural pesticide. Sadly, we have to encourage a chemical and mess with mother nature.

31-Oct-2013 at 18:38 GMT
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