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PLoS One. 2018 Feb 21;13(2):e0192342. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0192342. eCollection 2018.

Storage in high-barrier pouches increases the sulforaphane concentration in broccoli florets.

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Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.
Department of P-plus Project, Sumitomo Bakelite Co. Ltd., Tokyo, Japan.
Faculty of Life and Environmental Science, Shimane University, Matsue, Shimane, Japan.


Sulforaphane is a phytochemical that is usually found in cruciferous vegetables and is known to have a depressive effect on gastric cancer. Preliminary investigations showed that the sulforaphane concentration in broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) florets increased under anoxia. Therefore, in the present study, we examined the effect of different atmospheric conditions on the sulforaphane concentration in broccoli and also tested whether there are concurrent effects on the concentration of ethanol, which is an unfavorable byproduct of fermentation. The sulforaphane concentration in broccoli florets was significantly elevated by 1.9- to 2.8-fold after 2 d of storage under hypoxia at ca. 0% O2 and ca. 24% CO2 at 20°C, whereas no such increase was observed following storage under normoxia at ca. 0% O2 without CO2 at 20°C. Furthermore, after 2 d, the sulforaphane concentration under hypoxia was 1.6- to 2.3-fold higher than that under normoxia. These results suggest that storage under hypoxia with high CO2 levels can elevate the sulforaphane concentration in broccoli florets. However, the elevated sulforaphane concentration could not be maintained beyond 2 d. There was no significant difference in the concentration of ethanol between florets that were stored under hypoxia with/without CO2 or normoxia at 2 d. However, the ethanol concentrations inside the pouches significantly increased between 2 d and 7 d. These findings indicate that the quality of broccoli florets can be improved through storage under hypoxia with high CO2 levels at 20°C for 2 d.

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