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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Factors affecting the glucosinolate content of kale (Brassica oleracea acephala group)

Pablo Velasco, MarĂ­a Elena Cartea, Carmen Gonzalez, Marta Vilar, Amando Ordas
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2007 February 7, 55 (3): 955-62
17263499
Kales (Brassica oleracea acephala group) are important vegetable crops in traditional farming systems in the Iberian Peninsula. They are grown throughout the year to harvest their leaves and flower buds. The glucosinolate content of kales is dependent upon the environmental factors, plant part examined, phenological stage of plant growth, and level of insect damage. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the changes in the total and individual glucosinolate concentrations during plant development and to determine if significant variation of glucosinolate levels can be explained by insect pests attack and other environmental factors in four locations in northwestern Spain. The total glucosinolate concentration in leaves of B. oleracea increased with plant age from seedling to early flowering stages. At that stage, the aliphatic glucosinolate content in leaves of B. oleracea declined drastically over time as the content in the flower buds increased. The highest contents of indolyl glucosinolate (glucobrassicin) and of the aromatic glucosinolate occurred in leaves harvested at the optimum consumption stage while flower buds contained the highest concentration of aliphatic glucosinolates, especially sinigrin. Sinigrin is reported to have anticarcinogenic properties. There appears to be a loss of total and individual glucosinolate concentrations related to pest attack. Leaves damaged by lepidopterous pests contained a lower total glucosinolate content (25.8 micromol g-1 dw) than undamaged leaves (41 micromol g-1 dw). The amounts of sinigrin, glucoiberin, and glucobrassicin were also lowest in insect-damaged leaves. Environmental factors such as soil properties and temperature appear to influence the glucosinolate content in leaves although more research on this subject is needed.

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