European Food Research and Technology

, Volume 226, Issue 6, pp 1429–1437 | Cite as

Comparison of glucosinolate levels in commercial broccoli and red cabbage from conventional and ecological farming

  • Michael Meyer
  • Sieghard T. AdamEmail author
Original Paper


Broccoli heads and red cabbage of both conventional and ecological origin were purchased from the market at monthly intervals over a 1-year period. After freeze-drying of the samples the glucosinolates were extracted, enzymatically desulphated and analyzed by HPLC-UV. Glucoraphanin, glucobrassicin and neo-glucobrassicin turned out to be the predominant glucosinolates in broccoli. Red cabbage contained similar amounts of glucoraphanin and glucobrassicin but, in addition, appreciable amounts of glucoiberin, progoitrin, sinigrin, gluconapin and glucoerucin, while neo-glucobrassicin occurred at trace levels only. No significance was found comparing the contents of glucoraphanin in the two cultivation groups for either broccoli or red cabbage. Organic broccoli and red cabbage both contained significantly higher amounts of glucobrassicin than their conventionally grown counterparts. Conventional crops of red cabbage yielded significantly higher quantities of gluconapin than ecological crops. Broccoli imported from Spain and Italy during the winter months yielded levels of glucosinolates similar to those of the home-grown products available in summer and autumn.


Broccoli Red cabbage Profiles of glucosinolates HPLC-UV Conventional and ecological agriculture 



The authors wish to thank Dipl.-Inform. L. Korn who carried out the statistical data analysis, Dipl.-Ing. A. Rathjen for his assistance with graphs and for helpful discussions, and Ms. D. Inkster for proofreading the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Chemistry and BiologyFederal Research Centre for Nutrition and FoodKarlsruheGermany

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