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Free Radic Res. 1996 Jul;25(1):75-86.

Are whole extracts and purified glucosinolates from cruciferous vegetables antioxidants?

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Food Molecular Biochemistry Department, Institute of Food Research, Colney, Norwich, UK.


Fruits and vegetables contain several classes of compounds that can potentially contribute to antioxidant activity, including vitamins, simple and complex phenolics, sulphur-containing compounds and glucosinolates. The glucosinolates are found in high concentration in many cruciferous vegetables, and it is well established that their breakdown products induce endogenous antioxidant defences such as quinone reductase and glutathione S-transferase in cells and in vivo. Despite the anticarcinogenic effect of these compounds in animal models, the direct antioxidant properties of this class of compounds have not been systematically studied. We therefore examined the free radical-scavenging properties of representative extracts and of purified glucosinolates from cruciferous vegetables, by measuring their effect on ascorbate- or NADPH/iron-induced peroxidation of human liver microsomes, ascorbate/iron-induced peroxidation on phospholipid liposomes, iron chelation and hydroxyl radical scavenging using the deoxyribose assay, total antioxidant potential using ABTS (2,2'-azinobis(3-ethyl-benzothiazoline-6-sulphonate)) and the bleomycin assay. Most of the extracts from cruciferous vegetables exhibited some antioxidant properties, although extracts from cooked Brussels sprouts increased the rate of microsomal lipid peroxidation. The effects in these assays were dependent upon processing and species of crucifer, and the glucosinolate content appeared to play a minor role in these effects, since purified glucosinolates exhibited only weak antioxidant properties. The total antioxidant activities of extracts from cooked and autolysed Brussels sprouts were identical within experimental error. This is probably due to the content of phenolics which is unaltered by autolysis, despite the differences between these samples in other assays especially NADPH-iron-induced lipid peroxidation of human liver microsomes. The results demonstrate that glucosinolates are unlikely to account for the direct antioxidant effects of extracts from cruciferous vegetables.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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