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J Agric Food Chem. 1999 Apr;47(4):1576-81.

Carotene, tocopherol, and ascorbate contents in subspecies of Brassica oleracea.

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Departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, Food Science and Human Nutrition, and Veterinary Pathobiology, University of Illinois, Urbana 61801, USA.


Cruciferous vegetables contain high levels of vitamins that can act as antioxidants, compounds that may protect against several degenerative diseases. The edible portions of 50 broccoli and 13 cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts accessions were assayed to determine variation in alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, and ascorbate contents within and between subspecies of Brassica oleracea. Ascorbate content was estimated in fresh samples using HPLC. Tissues for carotene and tocopherol analysis were lyophilized prior to extraction. Carotene and tocopherol concentrations were simultaneously measured using a reverse phase HPLC system. Results indicate that there is substantial variation both within and between subspecies. Kale had the highest levels of vitamins, followed by broccoli and Brussels sprouts with intermediate levels and then by cabbage and cauliflower, with comparatively low concentrations. Variability in vitamin content among the broccoli accessions suggests that potential health benefits that accrue with consumption are genotype dependent.

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