Developmentally-related changes in phenolic and L-ascorbic acid content and antioxidant capacity of Chinese cabbage sprouts

  • Ivana ŠolaEmail author
  • Valerija Vujčić Bok
  • Mia Dujmović
  • Gordana Rusak
Original Article


The phytochemical and antioxidant properties of mature (head stage) Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa ssp. pekinensis) are known; however, data on the phenolic profile, vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) content and antioxidant capacity of its fresh sprouts are lacking. Since the human consumption of fresh cruciferous sprouts has significantly increased in recent years, their nutritional characterization has become a somewhat urgent matter. Therefore, in this study the contents of total phenolics, flavonols and hydroxycinnamic acids were measured spectrophotometrically, whereas individual flavonoids, phenolic acids and vitamin C were identified and quantified using a newly-developed high performance liquid chromatography method. Also, the antioxidant capacity of five Chinese cabbage sprout growth stages was determined. These stages contained either cotyledons only (seedlings), cotyledons and two leaves, four leaves, six leaves, or ten leaves. Principal component analysis (PCA) and hierarchical clustering (HC) were implemented in order to visualize the classification trend between the stages. Seedlings contained more sinapic acid and vitamin C than older plants. Plants containing six or ten leaves had more ferulic acid and isorhamnetin than younger ones. Total phenolics, flavonols, hydroxycinnamic acids, quercetin and antioxidant capacity did not statistically differ between seedlings and stages with six or ten leaves and their concentrations were significantly higher than in stages with two or four leaves. PCA and HC confirmed the higher phytochemical similarity between seedlings and plants with six or ten leaves than plants with two or four leaves. Therefore, Chinese cabbage seedlings and plants with six or ten leaves should be preferred over plants with two or four leaves, which were ultimately shown to be of lesser nutritional quality.


Cruciferous sprouts Flavonoids Nutritional potential Phenolic acids Vitamin C 



The authors sincerely thank Ivana Buj, Ph.D. for her help with the PCA. This study did not receive any specific Grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Association of Food Scientists & Technologists (India) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia

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