Broccoli possesses anticancer properties as it contains elevated levels of glucosinolates, plant secondary metabolites. The hydrolysis of these compounds generates the isothiocyanate sulforaphane and other products that stimulate the activity of quinone reductase, an anticancer enzyme.
According to Kang Mo Ku and colleagues, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA, a plant hormone known as methyl jasmonate can be used to further boost broccoli’s anticancer properties. The team sprayed this compound on five commercial broccoli species and demonstrated that, upon treatment, levels of the glucosinolates glucoraphanin, gluconasturtin, and neoglucobrassicin were significantly increased in all the broccoli species tested. Furthermore, methyl jasmonate promoted the hydrolysis of glucoraphanin into sulforaphane and the conversion of neoglucobrassicin into N-methoxyindole-3-carbinol, a compound that prevents the growth of colon cancer cells.
The use of methyl jasmonate thus represents a natural strategy to increase the antitumoral power of broccoli by stimulating the biosynthesis and hydrolysis of glucosinolates.
- Influence of Seasonal Variation and Methyl Jasmonate Mediated Induction of Glucosinolate Biosynthesis on Quinone Reductase Activity in Broccoli Florets,
Kang Mo Ku, Elizabeth H. Jeffery, John A. Juvik,
J. Agric. Food Chem. 2013.