Changes in glucosinolate concentrations, myrosinase activity and production of metabolites of glucosinolates in cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata ) cooked for different durations

Vanessa Rungapamestry, Alan J Duncan , Zoe Fuller, Brian Ratcliffe

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In cabbage, glucosinolates such as sinigrin are hydrolyzed by plant myrosinase to allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), allyl cyanide, and, in the presence of an epithiospecifier protein, 1-cyano-2,3-epithiopropane (CEP). Isothiocyanates have been implicated in the cancer-protective effects of Brassica vegetables. The effect of processing on the hydrolysis of glucosinolates was investigated in cabbage. Cabbage was steamed or microwaved for six time durations over 7 min. Glucosinolate concentrations were slightly reduced after microwave cooking (P < 0.001) but were not influenced after steaming (P < 0.05). Myrosinase activity was effectively lost after 2 min of microwave cooking and after 7 min of steaming. Hydrolysis of residual glucosinolates following cooking yielded predominantly CEP at short cooking durations and AITC at longer durations until myrosinase activity was lost. Lightly cooked cabbage produced the highest yield of AITC on hydrolysis in vitro, suggesting that cooking Brassica vegetables for a relatively short duration may be desirable from a health perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7628-7634
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2006



  • Steaming
  • microwaving
  • glucosinolates
  • myrosinase
  • cabbage
  • allyl isothiocyanate
  • 1-cyano-2,3-epithiopropane
  • epithiospecifier protein

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