Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Maximizing The Anti-Cancer Power Of Broccoli

Date:
April 5, 2005
Source:
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign / Agricultural, Consumer And Environmental Sciences
Summary:
University of Illinois researcher Elizabeth Jeffery has learned how to maximize the cancer-fighting power of broccoli. It involves heating broccoli just enough to eliminate a sulfur-grabbing protein, but not enough to stop the plant from releasing an important cancer-fighting compound called sulforaphane.

University of Illinois researcher Elizabeth Jeffery has learned how to maximize the cancer-fighting power of broccoli. It involves heating broccoli just enough to eliminate a sulfur-grabbing protein, but not enough to stop the plant from releasing an important cancer-fighting compound called sulforaphane.

Related Articles


The discovery of this sulfur-grabbing protein in the Jeffery lab makes it possible to maximize the amount of the anticarcinogen sulforaphane in broccoli.

Jeffery's research will be published in an upcoming issue of Phytochemistry. She is a professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the U of I.

"As scientists, we learned that sulforaphane is maximized when broccoli has been heated 10 minutes at 140 degrees Fahrenheit," said Jeffery. "For the consumer, who cannot readily hold the temperature as low as 140 degrees, that means the best way to prepare broccoli is to steam it lightly about 3 or 4 minutes--until the broccoli is tough-tender."

Frozen-food manufacturers may use this technology to increase the health benefits of the broccoli they sell, allowing the consumer to heat it without having to worry about the conditions.

Jeffery said that sulforaphane is one of the most powerful anticarcinogens found in food. "It works by increasing the enzymes in your liver that destroy the cancer-inducing chemicals you ingest in food or encounter in the environment."

But the chemistry for triggering the release of sulforaphane is tricky. Sulforaphane is linked to a sugar molecule through a sulfur bond. When the broccoli enzyme breaks off the sugar to release the sulforaphane, a sulfur-grabbing protein can remove the newly exposed sulfur on the sulforaphane and inactivate it.

"Although our gut bacteria may be able to release some of the sulforaphane, we don't have the enzyme to release sulforaphane in our body tissues, so our best bet is to use the enzyme in the broccoli," Jeffery said. "The enzyme in the broccoli does a really good job of breaking that bond. You can break it simply by chopping the broccoli."

Jeffery's team of researchers began by cooking broccoli for different lengths of times at different temperatures to learn the point at which the broccoli enzyme that releases sulforaphane is destroyed.

"And, much to our excitement, after we had heated it for just a little while, we found we had killed off a protein that nobody knew was there. This protein, named the epithiospecifier protein, had been grabbing sulfur and greatly depleting the amount of sulforaphane in a serving of broccoli.

"The protein was very heat-sensitive, and with a little bit of heat, we killed it off and got an almost perfect yield of sulforaphane, the cancer-fighting component," she said.

"It was a serendipitous discovery, and it changed our focus. Instead of worrying about overcooking the broccoli and losing the enzyme that releases the sulforaphane, we focused on heating the broccoli just enough to destroy the sulfur-grabbing protein, but not enough to harm the enzyme that releases sulforaphane from the sugar," said Jeffery.

Other researchers at the University of Illinois who contributed to the study were Nathan Matusheski and Qinyan Qiao.

The study was funded by the United States Department of Agriculture.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign / Agricultural, Consumer And Environmental Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign / Agricultural, Consumer And Environmental Sciences. "Maximizing The Anti-Cancer Power Of Broccoli." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 April 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050326114810.htm>.
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign / Agricultural, Consumer And Environmental Sciences. (2005, April 5). Maximizing The Anti-Cancer Power Of Broccoli. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050326114810.htm
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign / Agricultural, Consumer And Environmental Sciences. "Maximizing The Anti-Cancer Power Of Broccoli." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050326114810.htm (accessed November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins