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J Med Food. 2013 Aug;16(8):749-59. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2012.0250.

Rutabaga (Brassica napus L. var. napobrassica) seeds, roots, and sprouts: a novel kind of food with antioxidant properties and proapoptotic potential in Hep G2 hepatoma cell line.

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Department of Food Chemistry & Nutrition, Medical College, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland.


Although rutabaga (Brassica napus L. var. napobrassica) is a popular crop, especially in North Europe and North America, its sprouts are a new kind of vegetable. Rutabaga roots, and particularly sprouts, have not been investigated so far for antioxidant and anticancer effect on human tumor cells (Hep G2). Therefore, in vitro tests were conducted to find out whether rutabaga seeds, roots, and sprouts exert a cytotoxic effect on mammalian cells and combine them with other biological properties of particular parts of the plant. Rutabaga methanol extracts were measured for total phenolic, total flavonoid concentrations, and total antioxidant activity. Cytotoxicity of the investigated extracts was measured using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay in Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO-K1) and Hep G2 cells culture. Cell membrane integrity was assessed in CHO-K1 and Hep G2 cells by luminescence ToxiLight BioAssay. The results of the investigation have shown that sprouts have significantly higher antioxidant activity than seeds and roots, which may result from different contents of polyphenols. Rutabaga extracts (especially 8 day sprouts) inhibited the tumor cell line Hep G2 proliferation and had a slight effect on the normal mammalian CHO-K1 culture. An advanced analysis of previously observed morphological changes and cytotoxic properties demonstrated that the evaluated extracts exerted cell death via apoptosis. These findings strongly suggest that one of the biological activities of rutabaga is antiproliferative and proapoptotic potential specific to tumor cells. The obtained results demonstrate the antioxidant property of rutabaga and its potential as a nutritional supplement in cancer prevention. These findings also strongly advocate the application of rutabaga sprouts (especially harvested in conditions presented in this article) in functional food.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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