Broccoli Sprouts: Small but mighty

Newswise — Remember when your parents used to say, “Eat your greens, it's good for you”? Well, they were really onto something. Several studies have shown that a higher intake of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, one of the most widely consumed vegetables in the United States, is associated with the risk of diseases such as diabetes and cancer, thanks to their organosulfur compounds such as glucosinolates and isothiocyanates. They exhibit a wide spectrum of bioactivity, including antioxidant activity. However, few studies have focused on endogenous polysulfide content in broccoli sprouts.

A team of scientists led by Assistant Professor Shingo Kasamatsu and Professor Hideshi Ihara from the Graduate School of Science, Osaka Metropolitan University, investigated the amount of polysulfides in broccoli sprouts during their germination and growth. Building on their previous work, where the research team showed an abundance of polysulfide molecules in cruciferous vegetables.

The team found that total polysulfide content in broccoli sprouts increased significantly during germination and growth, with polysulfides increasing approximately 20-fold on the fifth day of germination. In addition, they discovered a number of unknown polysulfides with uncertain molecular structures. These findings suggest that the abundance of polysulfides in broccoli sprouts may contribute to their known health-promoting properties.

Dr. Kasamatsu said: “The discovery of a significant increase in polysulfide content during the germination process from broccoli seed was completely coincidental and very surprising. This finding suggests that polysulfides may play an important role in plant germination and growth. Further investigation of the pharmacological function of these unknown polysulfides may lead to the development of new preventive and therapeutic approaches and drugs for neurodegenerative diseases, stroke, cancer, inflammation and other diseases related to oxidative stress.

The results of this study were published in St Redox biology.