European Food Research and Technology

, Volume 244, Issue 12, pp 2085–2094 | Cite as

Processing effects on antioxidant, glucosinolate, and sulforaphane contents in broccoli and red cabbage

  • Jessica TabartEmail author
  • Joël Pincemail
  • Claire Kevers
  • Jean-Olivier Defraigne
  • Jacques Dommes
Review Article


The objective of this study is to investigate the effects of three home cooking methods traditionally used all around the world (boiling, steaming and microwaving) in two vegetables: broccoli and red cabbage. Their effects on phytochemical content (i.e., polyphenols, ascorbic acid, anthocyanins, glucosinolates, and sulforaphane) and on total antioxidant capacity were investigated. Steaming and microwaving were explored to understand the effect of cooking time and/or cooking power. Nutrient and health-promoting compounds in broccoli and red cabbage are significantly affected by domestic cooking. The boiling seems to result in a very significant loss of nutritional compounds by leaching in cooking water. However, steaming and microwaving allowed the preservation of the higher quantities of bioactive compounds such as antioxidant compounds and glucosinolates. Microwave cooking significantly influenced the concentrations of bioactive compounds such as ascorbic acid, anthocyanins and sulforaphane. Sulforaphane content increased four or six times during the first minute of microwaving in the two vegetables.


Cooking methods Total glucosinolates Sulforaphane Antioxidant capacity Brassicaceae 



J.T. gratefully acknowledges the support of CEDEVIT A.S.B.L (Liège), the restoration service of the CHU of Liège, and all students that have worked on this subject: Borja GARNELO GÓMEZ, Maitane TELLO LANCHO, and Elisabeth ROUCHET.


The authors certify that no funding has been received for the conduct of the study and/or preparation of this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Compliance with ethics requirements

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Unit, B22University of LiègeLiègeBelgium
  2. 2.CREDEC, B35, Sart-Tilman, University of LiègeLiègeBelgium

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