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Brassica genus includes known horticultural vegetables with major economical importance worldwide, and involves vegetables of economical importance being part of the diet and source of oils for industry in many countries. Brassicales own a broad array of health-promoting compounds, emphasized as healthy rich sources of vitamin C. The adequate management of pre- and postharvest factors including crop varieties, growth conditions, harvesting, handling, storage, and final consumer operations would lead to increase or preserve of the vitamin C content or reduced losses by interfering in the catalysis mechanisms that remains largely unknown, and should be reviewed. Likewise, the importance of the food matrix on the absorption and metabolism of vitamin C is closely related to the range of the health benefits attributed to its intake. However, less beneficial effects were derived when purified compounds were administered in comparison to the ingestion of horticultural products such as Brassicas, which entail a closely relation between this food matrix and the bioavailability of its content in vitamin C. This fact should be here also discussed. These vegetables of immature flowers or leaves are used as food stuffs all over the world and represent a considerable part of both western and non-Western diets, being inexpensive crops widely spread and reachable to all social levels, constituting an important source of dietary vitamin C, which may work synergistically with the wealth of bioactive compounds present in these foods.
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Brassica Foods as a Dietary Source of Vitamin C: A
R. Domínguez-Perles a , P. Mena a , C. García-Viguera a & D. A. Moreno a
a Phytochemistry Lab. Department of Food Science and Technology , Centro de Edafología y
Biología Aplicada del Segura-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CEBAS-CSIC) ,
Espinardo , Murcia, 30100 , Spain
Accepted author version posted online: 26 Mar 2013.Published online: 05 Feb 2014.
To cite this article: R. Domínguez-Perles , P. Mena , C. García-Viguera & D. A. Moreno (2014) Brassica Foods as
a Dietary Source of Vitamin C: A Review, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 54:8, 1076-1091, DOI:
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Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 54:1076–1091 (2014)
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ISSN: 1040-8398 / 1549-7852 online
DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2011.626873
Brassica Foods as a Dietary Source
of Vitamin C: A Review
and D. A. MORENO
Phytochemistry Lab. Department of Food Science and Technology. Centro de Edafolog´
ıa y Biolog´
ıa Aplicada del
Segura-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cient´
ıficas (CEBAS-CSIC), Espinardo, Murcia 30100, Spain
Brassica genus includes known horticultural vegetables with major economical importance worldwide, and involves veg-
etables of economical importance being part of the diet and source of oils for industry in many countries. Brassicales own
a broad array of health-promoting compounds, emphasized as healthy rich sources of vitamin C. The adequate manage-
ment of pre- and postharvest factors including crop varieties, growth conditions, harvesting, handling, storage, and final
consumer operations would lead to increase or preserve of the vitamin C content or reduced losses by interfering in the
catalysis mechanisms that remains largely unknown, and should be reviewed. Likewise, the importance of the food matrix
on the absorption and metabolism of vitamin C is closely related to the range of the health benefits attributed to its intake.
However, less beneficial effects were derived when purified compounds were administered in comparison to the ingestion of
horticultural products such as Brassicas, which entail a closely relation between this food matrix and the bioavailability of
its content in vitamin C. This fact should be here also discussed.
These vegetables of immature flowers or leaves are used as food stuffs all over the world and represent a considerable part
of both western and non-Western diets, being inexpensive crops widely spread and reachable to all social levels, constituting
an important source of dietary vitamin C, which may work synergistically with the wealth of bioactive compounds present in
these foods.
Keywords Vitamin C, Brassica, ascorbic acid, dehydroascorbic acid, pre-harvest, post-harvest, bioavailability, health
The Brassicaceae crop plants (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels
sprouts, cabbages, turnips, etc.) are food staples used world-
wide (Figure 1) and represent a considerable portion of human
diet (Vallejo et al., 2002b; Jahangir et al., 2009; Kusznierewicz
et al., 2010). A broad array of healthy properties have been
attributed to Brassica species in recent years; such as anticar-
cinogenic, protective actions against cardiovascular diseases and
ageing processes, prenatal pathologies, cataracts, etc. (Kataya
and Hamza, 2008; Kim et al., 2008; Tiku et al., 2008; Ja-
hangir et al., 2009; Akhlaghi and Bandy, 2010; Emmert et al.,
2010). These benefits have been related to their high content in
Address correspondence to D. A. Moreno, Phytochemistry Lab. Depart-
ment of Food Science and Technology. Centro de Edafolog´
ıa y Biolog´
ıa Apli-
cada del Segura-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cient´
ıficas (CEBAS-
CSIC), Post Office Box 164, Espinardo, Murcia 30100, Spain. E-mail:
These two authors have contributed equally to the present work.
health-promoting phytochemicals namely: glucosinolates (and
their hydrolysis products, isothiocianates), phenolic compounds
(hydroxycinamic acids and flavonoids), carotenoids, vitamins
(ascorbic acid (AA), tocopherol, and folic acid), and minerals
(Vallejo et al., 2002a; Heimler et al., 2006; Fernandes et al.,
2007; Ferreres et al., 2009; Taveira et al., 2009; Dom´
Perles et al., 2010; Yang et al., 2010; P´
erez-Balibrea et al.,
2011). Regardless of the rich profile in bioactive compounds of
Brassica genus, current trials are focused on the potential role
of isolated phytochemicals, including vitamin C, largely known
as essential nutrient, that lacks an integrative approach to un-
derstand its functions on health along with the rest of bioactive
constituents in their natural food concentrations and the condi-
tioning of the food matrix on its bioavailability (Blot et al., 1993;
Loria et al., 2000; Bjelakovic et al., 2007; Li and Schellhorn,
2007a; Frei and Lawson, 2008; Kim et al., 2008). Actually, it
should be taken into account that Brassicas generally contain
high amounts of vitamin C, even though the traditional source
has also been the Citrus family. In fact, depending on consumer
habits of different countries, Brassica vegetables can provide
the 50% of the daily recommended dietary intake of vitamin C,
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Figure 1 Vernacular and scientific names of some examples of commercial Brassicaceae.
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1078 R. DOM´
leading the sources of natural vitamin C for human populations
(Pennington and Fisher, 2010).
Therefore, the aim of this review was to describe the existing
variations in the contents of vitamin C among Brassica species,
pointing out the effects of the preharvest (specie, variety, organ,
and developmental stage) and postharvest (handling, storage,
and processing procedures) on this nutrient for high quality
commodities. The relevance of the health benefits attributed to
vitamin C derived from the Brassica consumption as affected
by the food matrix, as well as its absorption and metabolism,
will also be discussed.
The capital relevance of preharvest factors on the nutritional
quality of Brassica foods has been widely reported and it is
clear that the adequate management of the production factors
affecting the plant growth may help to increase their content
in bioactive compounds at harvest, not only by selecting the
best species and varieties for any specific production area, but
also by optimizing the growing conditions of the selected crops.
Therefore, among the different preharvest factors conditioning
the vitamin C content of Brassica vegetables, two groups could
be established. First, those factors inherent to the considered
crop: genetic (species and cultivars) and physiological factors
(organ and developmental stage), as “internal” factors. In this
sense, the second group would include all the “external” fac-
tors including the environmental and agronomic conditions and
practices harvesting and handling procedures.
2.1. Genetic Information
The major inherent internal factor to crucifers is the large
variation among genotypes, and a good example can be found-
ing Brassica genus (Table 1), for vitamin C concentrations
ranging up to fourfold differences among species: broccoli (B.
oleracea var. italica), Brussels sprouts (B. oleracea var. gem-
mifera), kale (B. oleracea var. acephala), and mustard spinachs
(B. rapa var. perviridis), exhibing higher contents (100, 107,
118, and 130 mg of vitamin C per 100 g fw on average, respec-
tively), widely surpassed the black mustards (B. nigra), canola
(B. napus), cauliflower (B. oleracea var. botrytis), collards (B.
oleracea var. viridis), Indian mustards (B. juncea var. rugosa),
turnips (B. rapa vars. rapifera and rapa), and cabbages (B. ol-
eracea var. capitata,B. rapa var. chinensis,var.parachinensis,
and var. pekinensis) that presented ranging 35–68 mg 100 g1
fw (Table 1). Data of the variation of vitamin C contents of dif-
ferent Brassica species analyzed under equal conditions have
been published by the United States Department of Agriculture
(USDA), confirming this fact under the minimized influence of
the analytical method (USDA, 2010).
Penintong et al. cited an alternative classification that showed
collards, kale, turnip greens, and mustards as the Brassicas with
the highest contents in vitamin C in comparison with broc-
coli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese broccolis,
and Chinese cabbages (Pennington and Fisher, 2010). In earlier
works, the lowest values have been registered for some varieties
of cabbage (5.7–25.3 mg 100 g1fw (Singh et al., 2007)). Addi-
tionally, the comparison of the content of vitamin C in separate
cultivars belonging to the same species has shown differences
of up to 5% for broccoli, 3.7% for kale, 2.7% for collards,
2% for cauliflower, Indian mustards, cabbage, and turnips, and
1.5% for Brussels sprouts and Chinese cabbage (Table 1). The
variation in the content of vitamin C among Brassicaceae mem-
bers has been attributed to their inherent genetic background,
while minor changes could be also attributed to differences in
the experimental procedures or analytical methods. In addition,
the fact that the species most widely integrated in the market
and human consumption habits (broccoli, kale, collards, and
cauliflower), and therefore, which are subjected to more intense
genetic breeding showed also the strongest variation, linking
the genetic factor as responsible of the variation in their vitamin
C contents. Furthermore, the experimental procedures in which
variations in the analytical and storage conditions, represent a
factor with marginal relevance, give additional support to the
critical effect of the genetic influence on the vitamin C content
in Brassica spp., with variations of up to 54% for broccoli, 12%
for cauliflower, and 32% for cabbage (Kurilich et al., 1999;
Ferreres et al., 2006; Vrchovsk´
a et al., 2006; Borowski et al.,
2008; Sousa et al., 2008). In this sense, Vallejo et al., analyzed
the content in vitamin C of 14 breeding and commercial broc-
coli varieties recording differences of up to 71% (Vallejo et al.,
2002b), even though they were grown, processed, and analyzed
under equal conditions, suggesting again the major relevance
of the genetics and breeding in determining the Brassicas load
of dietary vitamin C over the distinct experimental conditions.
Despite the existing variations in vitamin C contents in Bras-
sicas, we emphasize that the natural foods of this genus are a
good source of vitamin C among a broad array of fruits and
2.2. Organ and Developmental Stage
Other group of inner factors; including the physiological ef-
fects of the distinct plant organs, or the developmental stage
at harvest, are also critical for the nutrient contents of fruits
and vegetables. Considering broccoli as a model because of its
intense characterization and interest as commercial Brassica,
significant changes occurred on vitamin C levels through its
development, as for other bioactives. While in broccoli seeds,
vitamin C is almost undetected, a progressive increase of the
vitamin C in broccoli sprouts was described from 3 to 12 days
of age (P´
erez-Balibrea et al., 2008; P´
erez-Balibrea et al., 2010).
Later on, in adult plants during flowering, the vitamin C accumu-
lation in broccoli inflorescences from the early flower bottom
to the mature head reached even a fivefold increased amount
(Omary et al., 2003; Vallejo et al., 2003a). Another remarkable
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Tab l e 1 Content in vitamin C (mg 100 g1fw) of fresh edible parts of Brassica plants
Commodity AA Vitamin C Extraction/analysis method Source (Reference)
Broccoli (Brassica oleracea var.
93.2 Total ascorbic acid (USDA, 2010)
83.0 Trichloroacetic acid/HPLC (Puupponen-Pimi¨
a et al., 2003)
66.4 Till-mans method (Sikora et al., 2008)
72.2–122.6 MeOH:H2O/HPLC (Vallejo et al., 2003b)
37.7–124.9 (Vallejo et al., 2003a)
200 (L´
opez-Berenguer et al., 2007)
115 (leaves) (L´
opez-Berenguer et al., 2009)
150 (L´
opez-Berenguer et al., 2009)
106.9 117.7 MeOH:H2O/HPLC (Vallejo et al., 2002a)
130 (Moreno et al., 2007a)
25.5–82.3 Nonavailable (Jagdish et al., 2006)
84 Citric acid/HPLC (Hrncirik et al., 2001)
77–93 Methaphosphoric
(Favell, 1998)
74.8 (Bahorun et al., 2004)
96.79 (Schonhof et al., 2007)
32 (Ansorena et al., 2011)
2.34–5.77Metaphosphoric acid/microfluorometric
(Borowski et al., 2008)
112 (78 stems) Metaphosphoric acid/spectophotometry (Murcia et al., 2000)
89.0–148.2 97.0–163 Methaphosphoric acid/HPLC (Vanderslice et al., 1990)
121.1 (Mangels et al., 1993)
74.7 (Kurilich et al., 1999)
152 (Howard et al., 1999)
75 (Hussein et al., 2000)
43.2–146.3 (Vallejo et al., 2002b)
103 (124 stems) (Zhang and Hamauzu, 2004)
41–64 (Franke et al., 2004)
87.19 (Koh et al., 2009)
374.1 (Patras et al., 2011)
113 Not available (Davey et al., 2000)
93 (Chu et al., 2002)
35–65 (Lemoine et al., 2010)
Broccoli raab (Brassica rapa
var. ruvo)
20.1 Total ascorbic acid (USDA, 2010)
26.6 MeOH:H2O/HPLC (Cefola et al.)
Brussels sprouts (Brassica
oleracea var. gemmifera)
85 Total ascorbic acid (USDA, 2010)
90.3 Till-mans method (Sikora et al., 2008)
27.4 Methaphosphoric acid/HPLC (Kurilich et al., 1999)
76 (Pfendt et al., 2003)
127.7–129.3 (Podsedek et al., 2006)
87–109 No available (Davey et al., 2000)
Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea
var. botrytis)
48.2 Total ascorbic acid (USDA, 2010)
81 Trichloroacetic acid/HPLC (Puupponen-Pimi¨
a et al., 2003)
40.6–52.4 Till-mans method (Sikora et al., 2008)
50 Metaphosphoric acid/2,6-dichlorophenol (Bahorun et al., 2004)
17.2 HCl/2,6-dichlorophenol (Pfendt et al., 2003)
64 Citric acid/HPLC-UV (Hrncirik et al., 2001)
54.0 63.1 Methaphosphoric acid/HPLC (Vanderslice et al., 1990)
42.0 (Kurilich et al., 1999)
64–78 No available (Davey et al., 2000)
Chinese broccoli (Kai lan)
(Brassica alboglabra)
28.2 Total ascorbic acid (USDA, 2010)
Chinese cabbage (Pak choi)
(Brassica rapa var. chinesis)
45.0 Total ascorbic acid (USDA, 2010)
25.3 Metaphosphoric
(Bahorun et al., 2004)
29 Methaphosphoric acid/HPLC (Wills et al., 1984)
Chinese cabbage (Pe tsai) (Brassica
rapa var. pekinensis)
27.0 Total ascorbic acid (USDA, 2010)
11 Citric acid/HPLC-UV (Hrncirik et al., 2001)
20 Methaphosphoric acid/HPLC (Wills et al., 1984)
(Continued on next page)
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1080 R. DOM´
Tab l e 1 Content in vitamin C (mg 100 g1fw) of fresh edible parts of Brassica plants (Continued)
Commodity AA Vitamin C Extraction/analysis method Source (Reference)
Chinese flowering cabbage (Choi
sum) (Brassica rapa var.
46 Methaphosphoric acid/HPLC (Wills et al., 1984)
Collards (Brassica oleracea var.
35.3 Total ascorbic acid (USDA, 2010)
92.7 93.3 Methaphosphoric acid/HPLC (Vanderslice et al., 1990)
Curly kale (Brassica oleracea var.
120 Total ascorbic acid (USDA, 2010)
107 Till-mans method (Sikora et al., 2008)
51.3 Methaphosphoric
acid/dinitrophenylhydrazine method
(Fonseca et al., 2005)
92.6 HCl/2,6-dichlorophenol-indophenol (Pfendt et al., 2003)
55.52 Methaphosphoric acid/HPLC-UV (Mart´
ınez et al., 2009)
730969(Hagen et al., 2009)
186 Not available (Davey et al., 2000)
Mustard cabbage (Indian mustard)
(Brassica juncea var. juncea)
70.0 Total ascorbic acid (USDA, 2010)
36.2 36.2 Methaphosphoric acid/HPLC (Vanderslice et al., 1990)
100 (Wills et al., 1984)
Mustard spinach (Tender greens)
(Brassica rapa var. perviridis)
130.0 Total ascorbic acid (USDA, 2010)
Red cabbage (Brassica oleracea var.
57.0 Total ascorbic acid (USDA, 2010)
62.0–72.5 Methaphosphoric acid/HPLC-UV (Podsedek et al., 2006)
Savoy cabbage (Brassica oleracea
var. capitata)
31.0 Total ascorbic acid (USDA, 2010)
49.8–65.7 Methaphosphoric acid/HPLC-UV (Podsedek et al., 2006)
33.3 (Mart´
ınez et al., 2009)
White cabbage (Brassica oleracea
var. capitata)
36.6 Total ascorbic acid (USDA, 2010)
5.5 25.6 Manufactured kit/HPLC (G¨
okmen et al., 2000)
44 Citric acid/HPLC-UV (Hrncirik et al., 2001)
28.2 HCl/2,6-dichlorophenol (Pfendt et al., 2003)
18.8 Metaphosphoric
(Bahorun et al., 2004)
18.0–35.6 Methaphosphoric acid/HPLC (Podsedek et al., 2006)
42.3–67.0 44.3–74 Not available (Vanderslice et al., 1990)
17.0–24.0 (Kurilich et al., 1999)
46–47 (Davey et al., 2000)
32 (Chu et al., 2002)
43 (Puupponen-Pimi¨
a et al., 2003)
34.1 (Mart´
ınez et al., 2009)
White or yellow mustard (Brassica
3 Total ascorbic acid (USDA, 2010)
Turnip tops (Brassica rapa var.
21.0 Total ascorbic acid (USDA, 2010)
46 MeOH:H2O/HPLC (Francisco et al., 2010)
89.39 Methaphosphoric acid/HPLC (Mart´
ınez et al., 2009)
Turnip greens (Brassica rapa var.
60.0 (USDA, 2010)
62 MeOH:H2O/HPLC (Francisco et al., 2010)
67.5 Methaphosphoric acid/HPLC (Mart´
ınez et al., 2009)
70 Not available (Mondrag´
on-Portocarrero et al., 2006)
NDB =USDA nutrient databank identifier, mg g1dw; ∗∗mg Kg1pf.
increase was observed in leaves and stalks in adult plants. In-
deed, Brassica byproducts (harvest remains) are foodstuffs rich
in health-promoting nutrients including vitamins and minerals,
with even higher values that those found in marketable heads
(Omary et al., 2003; Mart´
ınez et al., 2009; Dom´
et al., 2010). Consequently, the stage of plant development con-
ditions the content of phytochemicals including vitamin C.
2.3. Environmental Factors
Concerning “external” environmental and agronomic fac-
tors that influence the vitamin C contents of Brassica crops
(Howard et al., 1999), sun light, aerial temperature, and soil
salinity have been highlighted as critical factors for vitamin C,
and therefore modifiers of the nutritional quality of Brassicas
(Lee and Kader, 2000; Moreno et al., 2007a; L´
et al., 2009; Dom ˜
Anguez-Perles et al., 2010). With regard to
sunlight, although vitamin C synthesis in plants is not directly
depending on light, AA is synthesized from glucose obtained
through the photosynthesis, which let to an indirect relation-
ship between both, amount and intensity of sunlight and the
vitamin C content (Lee and Kader, 2000). In the same way,
Perez-Balibrea et al. recorded higher contents of vitamin C in
broccoli sprouts grown under a 16/8 h light/dark cycle, that
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significantly surpassed those of the sprouts grown in the dark,
by 83% on average (P´
erez-Balibrea et al., 2008). Likewise, the
relationship between air temperature and AA content has also
been reported for Brassica vegetables and, in general, growing
under low temperature regimes has as consequence a higher
vitamin C contents in plants (Lee and Kader, 2000).
Considering abiotic stress such as salinity in the irrigation
water, its concentration is crucial for the vitamin C content
of edible parts of Brassicas, including broccoli, decreasing pro-
portionally to the water physiological deficiency or hydric stress
(Toivonen et al., 1994). Several production areas of semiarid cli-
mates worldwide are affected by water shortage, and character-
ized by high-salt concentrations in the available irrigation water,
which has been pointed out as responsible of the variations in the
nutritional value of Brassica foods. However, the variation in vi-
tamin C content, as a consequence of the irrigation using saline
water, is closely related to the organ considered: while broccoli
inflorescences and stalks were not affected, the broccoli leaves
showed a decrease (15% as average) in vitamin C at 100 mM
NaCl (L´
opez-Berenguer et al., 2009; Dom ˜
Anguez-Perles et al.,
Fertilization practices are also critical for growth and the nu-
tritive composition of crops, and the effects on the vitamin C
of Brassica plants depends on type of nutrient and the applied
dose. The sulfur fertilization (60–200 Kg Ha1)atlowortoo
high rate at different flowering moments resulted in distinct vita-
min C contents with a positive effect of rich sulfur fertilization,
at the beginning of the inflorescence development, undergoing
a progressive reduction in concentration during heads forma-
tion (Vallejo et al., 2003a, 2003b). For nitrogen, its application
(100–400 Kg Ha1) severally leads to higher vitamin C concen-
trations in vegetables (Stefanelli et al., 2010), and among Brassi-
cas, cauliflower and white cabbage have displayed an increased
vitamin C content when the nitrogen based fertilization was
at low rates (Sorensen, 1984; Lisiewska and Kmiecik, 1996).
However, it has not been registered significant differences for
vitamin C content of broccoli, suggesting the relative effect of
fertilization practices on its content, as well as the contribution
of climate and water status together with the fertilization effects
(Sorensen, 1984; Lisiewska et al., 2008; Stefanelli et al., 2010).
The AA appeared to be strongly affected by a fast oxidation
to DHA under nonadequate growth conditions for broccoli. In-
deed, both seasonal and annual variations of the AA and total
vitamin C have also been observed (between 13.37–110.30 and
57.35–131.35 mg/100 g fw, respectively), for example, in broc-
coli harvested in separated seasons for two consecutive years
(Koh et al., 2009).
Harvesting marks the limit between pre- and postharvest.
Manipulations at harvest may cause damages on the integrity of
Brassica tissues as a result of bruising, surface abrasions, and
cuts. Consequently, harvesting methods may have pernicious
effects on vitamin C content, accelerating its loss or degrada-
tion by exposing it to external oxidative atmospheres. Like this,
the method employed for harvesting, either by hand or using
machinery, can determine the severity of the damages caused to
the marketable products. Therefore, harvesting procedures and
practices should be the less damaging as possible to avoid vita-
min C losses and keep the integrity of the item and its content
and, in addition, must be stored at low temperatures (Lee and
Kader, 2000; Sikora et al., 2008).
Post-harvest products would determine the potential amount
of nutrients and health promoting bioactives for dietary intake by
final consumers and, hence, their properties for consumers well-
being. The food composition would be greatly influenced by the
processes at this stage. Once harvested, the biological processes
that continue in food, are closely linked to the variation of phy-
tochemical composition during handling and storage. Because
of this, preserving the phytochemicals in Brassica vegetables
through careful post-harvest practices means to guarantee their
high nutritional quality and safety (Allende et al., 2006).
In this sense, vitamin C has been considered a bio-indicator of
adequate handling and processing procedures because of its sen-
sitivity to degradation (it is easily oxidized by both enzymatic
and nonenzymatic pathways) (Morrison, 1974; Clegg et al.,
1976) and, in general, fresh Brassica foods contain higher vi-
tamin C contents than stored foods, not only as a result of the
slight increase of vitamin C occurred in some species during
first days after harvesting (Eheart and Odland, 1972; Wu et al.,
1992), but also because it is not possible to stop the degra-
dation processes after harvest. Vitamin C losses begin during
pre-market preparations of Brassica vegetables, which may in-
clude bruising, trimming, and cutting, which can display an in-
tense reduction as a result of these processes that entails a weak
commercial and healthy value (Lee and Kader, 2000; Sikora
et al., 2008). Moreover, there are a broad array of post-harvest
factors affecting vitamin C content of Brassica vegetables such
as storage temperature, packing atmospheres, edible coatings,
and cooking methods. In fact, the combination of all these factors
will notably affect the final vitamin C content of foods-as-eaten,
as it has already been noted for some Brassica vegetables in-
cluding Broccoli (Puupponen-Pimi¨
a et al., 2003; Lemoine et al.,
2007; L´
opez-Berenguer et al., 2007), collards (Vanderslice et al.,
1990), cabbage (Kader; Vanderslice et al., 1990; Puupponen-
a et al., 2003), mustard greens (Vanderslice et al., 1990),
and cauliflower (Puupponen-Pimi¨
a et al., 2003). These reports
have showed that the chain of factors from the producer to the
consumer let to degradation of vitamin C to different extends
for Brassicas.
3.1. Storage Temperature
This factor is critical for the maintenance of the vitamin C
level in Brassica spp. foods (Table 2). Refrigeration of Brassica
derived foods is used to maintain the vitamin C concentration
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1082 R. DOM´
Tab l e 2 Content in vitamin C (mg 100 g1fw) of stored and cooked edible parts of Brassica plants
Commodity Frozen Refrigerated Cooked (cooking method) Source (reference)
Broccoli 40.1 (USDA, 2010)
56.0 (frozen); 23.1 (boiled/frozen) 106–134 40.1 (boiled); 116.2 (microwaved) (Vanderslice et al., 1990)
56.4 71.7–62.2/2 (Mangels et al., 1993)
64.3–73.7 (Favell, 1998)
77–89 (frozen); 77–86
(blanched/frozen); 69–80
115–116 90-135 (blanched); 112–117
(Howard et al., 1999)
84 (pillow packed) (Hussein et al., 2000)
55–56 (florets blanched/frozen);
35–36 (stems blanched/frozen)
(Murcia et al., 2000)
(Murcia et al., 2000)
90 (boiled) (Davey et al., 2000)
73 (boiled); 75 (high pressure
boiled); 106 (steamed); 54.9
(Vallejo et al., 2002a)
18–21 (Franke et al., 2004)
35.2–83.5 (floret boiled);
36.0–100.0 (stem boiled);
35.5–85.1 (floret microwaved);
36.5–103 (leaves microwaved)
(Zhang and Hamauzu, 2004)
110–170 (L´
opez-Berenguer et al., 2007)
65–120 (stir fried) (Moreno et al., 2007b)
20 (frozen) 60 (blanched); 25 (boiled) (Sikora et al., 2008)
62.7 (frozen); 373.2
(Patras et al., 2011)
40 (CMC coated); 52 (chitosan
(Ansorena et al., 2011)
Brussels sprouts 74.1 62.0 (USDA, 2010)
30-50 (frozen) 15-40 (boiled); 35-80
(Sikora et al., 2008)
Cauliflower 55 (Davey et al., 2000)
66–73 14.4 (boiled); 73 (Blanched) (Puupponen-Pimi¨
a et al., 2003)
35 35 (blanching); 25 (boiled) (Sikora et al., 2008)
Chinese cabbage
26.0 (USDA, 2010)
14–15 (Franke et al., 2004)
Chinese cabbage
15.8 (USDA, 2010)
68–10 (Franke et al., 2004)
Collards 18.2 (USDA, 2010)
41 (boiled) (Vanderslice et al., 1990)
Curly Kale (USDA, 2010)
62 (Davey et al., 2000)
45 15 (boiling); 65 (blanching) (Sikora et al., 2008)
465-828(Hagen et al., 2009)
Mustard cabbage
(Indian mustard)
25.3 (USDA, 2010)
4.8 (boiled) (Vanderslice et al., 1990)
Mustard spinach
(tender greens)
65.0 (USDA, 2010)
Red cabbage 10.8 (USDA, 2010)
Savoy cabbage 17.0 (USDA, 2010)
White cabbage 37.5 (USDA, 2010)
24.4 (boiled) (Vanderslice et al., 1990)
Turnip tops 26.8 18.2 (USDA, 2010)
29.4 (steamed); 0 (boiled/high
pressure boiled)
(Francisco et al., 2010)
Turnip greens 4.4 3.9 (USDA, 2010)
20–30 (frozen); 25–35 (dried,
blanched, frozen)
on-Portocarrero et al.,
39.7 (steamed); 0 (boiled/high
pressure boiled)
(Francisco et al., 2010)
NDB =USDA nutrient databank identifier.
mg 100g1dw.
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and temperature regimes <4C guaranteed a minor decrease,
whereas higher temperatures entailed significant reductions
(Ezell and Wilcox, 1959). It is generally accepted that storage,
at controlled low-temperatures, reduces the degradation of vita-
min C, but the Brassica species considered, the storage period,
and the fluctuations of temperatures may also act as modulators
for this vitamin losses (Adisa, 1986). In this aspect, for exam-
ple; the content in vitamin C of kale and cabbage underwent
an accelerated reduction stored at temperatures higher than 8C
(Ezell and Wilcox, 1959).
3.2. Duration of Storage
Differences between short and long-time periods of stor-
age are critical for the vitamin C content. Among the separate
Brassica products depending on the specie considered (roots,
leaves, or inflorescences), short-time storage at temperatures
below 8C allowed a quite stable concentration of vitamin C
(Ezell and Wilcox, 1959; Wu et al., 1992). However, for long-
time storage (3–6 weeks) at 1–2C, the fall of vitamin C contents
was dependent on the species. Thus, these losses varied from
5–10%, for broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and Chinese cabbage, to
a much severe reduction of more than 50% for kale (Albrecht
et al., 1990; Klieber and Franklin, 2000; Hagen et al., 2009).
In addition to the decrease of vitamin C under long-time re-
frigerated storage, an increase in the proportion of DHAA with
respect to AA has been described owed to the degradation of
AA, rendering DHAA (Wills et al., 1984; Lee and Kader, 2000;
Hagen et al., 2009). In spite of this, the reported losses of AA
in cruciferous vegetables are minimal in comparison to other
horticultural products, due to the high contents of these plants
in glutathione and other sulfur molecules involved in the reduc-
tion of DHAA to AA that, hence, allows a higher capacity for
AA retention during storage that reach between 65% and 95%
of initial levels, depending on the considered specie (Albrecht
et al., 1990; Lee and Kader, 2000).
3.3. Physical Pretreatments
Together with the low temperature-based storage, other phys-
ical treatments can help to preserve the nutritive value of Bras-
sica vegetables stored for long periods. In this way, it has been
reported the beneficial effects of hot air or ultraviolet light treat-
ments (UV-C) on minimally processed broccoli florets prior
to refrigeration, allowing a smaller decrease of both AA and
DHAA in treated broccoli than in controls (Lemoine et al.,
2007; Lemoine et al., 2010). On the other hand, Ansorena et al.
recently described that broccoli inflorescences treated with edi-
ble coatings presented even two times higher AA retention than
those uncoated. Among different coating tested, chitosan dis-
played the best performance and, next to other advantageous
impacts on broccoli quality, this effect was enhanced when it
was combined with a mild heat-shock, constituting a promis-
ing technique for Brassica manufacturing industry (Ansorena
et al.).
3.4. Freezing
The storage of Brassica vegetables at 30C for long pe-
riods (12 months) resulted in reduced vitamin C contents, in
the range of 15–18% for broccoli, 6–13% for cauliflower, and
32% for cabbage (Lisiewska and Kmiecik, 1996; Puupponen-
a et al., 2003). The main cause of vitamin C reduction in
frozen Brassica foods has been the effect of the freezing pro-
cess in the internal structure of the vegetables. Differences in
vitamin C concentrations between fresh and frozen cauliflower
and cabbage were recorded, and varied from 16–30%, respec-
tively (Puupponen-Pimi¨
a et al., 2003). Contrary to this, contro-
versial results have been shown for fresh and frozen broccoli
inflorescences. While some authors indicated an important de-
crease (about 50%) as consequence of freezing (Lisiewska and
Kmiecik, 1996; Murcia et al., 2000), other reports remark the
protective effect of blanching on the vitamin C losses. In this
way, broccoli heads blanched prior to freezing underwent a re-
duction of the vitamin C losses of 83% (Patras et al., 2011).
In fact, blanching, far of being considered harmful, protects
vitamin C from degradation. Nonetheless, blanching also re-
duces the content of vitamin C, mainly because of denatura-
tion by heat and diffusion to the blanch-hot water (Vanderslice
et al., 1990), but the decreases produced by the further freezing
are minimal for kale, broccoli, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts
in comparison with that observed in vegetable directly frozen
(Sikora et al., 2008; Patras et al., 2011). The reason why vitamin
C preservation, in blanched Brassica foods is less affected by
frozen-storage than those nonblanched, was suggested as result
of the effect on denaturation of catabolic enzymes present in
fresh vegetables (Howard et al., 1999; Lee and Kader, 2000;
Sikora et al., 2008; Patras et al., 2011). Consequently, the com-
bination of distinct temperature-based preservative procedures,
blanching, and freezing, enables the reduction of vitamin C
losses when freezing is used and, thus, help to guarantee high
vitamin C contents in frozen Brassica foodstuffs.
3.5. Controlled or Modified Atmospheres of Packing
The technological approaches to reduce the vitamin C losses
of Brassica vegetables during storage, include the use of low
partial pressures of O2and high partial pressures of CO2,inor-
der to decrease the metabolic activity of plant tissues to avoid the
degradation of the marketable and nutritional quality (Kader).
Brassica species showed different tolerance to modified atmo-
sphere packing (MAP), mainly because of the distinct resis-
tance of the edible organ used or processed (inflorescences, baby
leaves, leaves, stems, bulbs, roots, etc.), the physiological state
at harvest, and the concomitant storage factors (temperature,
humidity, and duration) (Ahvenainen et al., 1998; Mart´
anchez et al., 2006). Therefore, modified or controlled atmo-
sphere for Brassica products must be specifically designed. Nev-
ertheless, promising approaches have been performed indicating
not only that a retention of vitamin C, as in kale or turnip tops, is
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1084 R. DOM´
possible, but also an increase during storage as found in broccoli
(Fonseca et al., 2005; Wold et al., 2007; Cefola et al., 2010).
Additionally to the use of MAP, the conditioning of broccoli in-
florescences with cytokinin (50 ppm of benzyl adenine), a plant
hormone with antioxidant properties involved in the delay of
the senescence and the decrease of the sensitivity to ethylene
(Chang et al., 2003), helped to reduce the fermentation of pack-
aged broccoli heads, preventing the degradation of vitamin C
(Khalili et al., 2008).
3.6. Domestic Cooking
Prior to consumption, every cooking method affects vitamin
C differently and has critical consequences on the protective
intake of vitamin C from Brassica vegetables. Likewise, while
microwave cooking method reduces the content in vitamin C of
broccoli from 20% to 40% as compared to raw broccoli (Vallejo
et al., 2002a; L´
opez-Berenguer et al., 2007), boiling, which
is the most classical domestic cooking for Brassicas, reduces
vitamin C almost two times more than the microwave, probably
due to the release of vitamin C into the cooking water (L´
Berenguer et al., 2007; Sikora et al., 2008). Actually, boiling
has been reported to induce a great decrease in vitamin C levels
of the Brassicas, these losses have been quantified in 24% and
80% for green cauliflower and kale, respectively. Moreover,
boiled-frozen vegetables showed even higher losses, owed to the
lack of structural integrity, than occurred when freezing without
previous treatments (Sikora et al., 2008). Relating to the effect
of stir-frying on vitamin C content of broccoli, Moreno et al.
showed the critical relevance of the kind of edible oil used for
cooking on the reduction of vitamin C contents. The decreases
registered reached the 8 and 81% for extra virgin olive oil and
refined olive oil, respectively. (Moreno et al., 2007b). Steaming,
by the contrary, has been shown as the thermal cooking process
that causes the lowest vitamin C loss in Brassica foods (Vallejo
et al., 2002a; Volden et al., 2009; Francisco et al., 2010).
The cooking time is also relevant, because of the exposition
time to the high temperatures during cooking as well as the long
time between preparation and consumption, that are all factors
that reduces the vitamin C, should be reduced to the minimum
(Lee and Kader, 2000; Campos et al., 2009).
As seen in this section, a broad array of postharvest fac-
tors affects the vitamin C of Brassica vegetables are not fully
addressed. Regardless the many studies that have been carried
out focused in either only one or a few processes or factors, not
enough multifactorial, integrative, and translational research has
been taken, in order to clarify how handling, storage, and final
consumer operations modify the vitamin C content of the healthy
horticultural products. Therefore, aiming to offer the highest
and most complete health-promoting phytochemical composi-
tion of foods, both the implementation of the most consecutive
postharvest practices and the communication to consumers of
the best guidelines for the proper processing of Brassica food-
stuffs should be encouraged.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient involved in the cell physi-
ology and several crucial processes for human health. Because
of evolutive selection has produced the lack of the enzyme that
catalyze the last step for AA synthesis, L-gulonolactone oxidase
(GulL-ox), humans are unable to synthesize it and, thus, vitamin
C has to be incorporated in through its dietary intake (Nishikimi
et al., 1994).
This essential nutrient is generally available from fruits and
vegetables as it has been aforementioned; Brassicas are a good
rich source of vitamin C. Despite its elevated content in these
vegetables, differences concerning the absorption of vitamin C
from Brassicas could be due not only to the content in the final
product, but also to the simultaneous presence of other interfer-
ing compounds as phenolics. In addition, different sources of
vitamin C may entail variations in its gastrointestinal absorp-
tion and, thus, affecting its bioavailability and physiological
effects (Mangels et al., 1993; Park and Levine, 2000; Song
et al., 2002). The comparative analysis of the bioavailability
of vitamin C from different dietary sources including Brassica
spp., Citrus spp., and pure compound (synthetic AA) did not
show relevant differences among foods, except for raw broc-
coli (Mangels et al., 1993). Interestingly, distinct foods (mainly
Citrus spp.) and cooked broccoli displayed similar vitamin C
bioavailability, higher than the registered after the raw broccoli
intake. This fact has been attributed to both the distinct release of
vitamin C in the intestinal lumen and its availability for organic
uptake as affected by the food matrix. Consequently, the work
of Van Het Hof et al. suggests that the consumption of Brassi-
cas, exposed to thermal or domestic processing, are better than
eating raw foods in terms of vitamin C intake, and could yield
a higher, albeit not so significant, bioavailable vitamin C (Van
Het Hof et al., 1999).
4.1. Bioavailability and Metabolism of Vitamin C: Focus on
the Role of other Brassica Phytochemicals
Vitamin C, both in reduced (AA) and oxidized form (DHAA),
undergoes several steps from the initial ingestion through its
elimination out of the human body. Initially, the uptake occurs,
for both AA and DHAA, in the epithelial cells of the small
intestine but in different physical locations, and different trans-
porters based in substrate-saturable mechanisms are used for
both forms (Li and Schellhorn, 2007a).
The efficiency in the absorption constitutes an essential factor
conditioning the further bioavailability of vitamin C. The AA
uptake constitutes the major source of vitamin C supply, as the
efficiency of its uptake is higher than for the DHAA, because of
the high affinity of AA for its receptor, contrary to the DHAA
(Malo and Wilson, 2000). The AA is absorbed through a sodium-
dependent vitamin C transporter type I (SVCT1) located in the
apical brush-border of the ileum (Malo and Wilson, 2000; Mart´
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et al., 2009), and also through a sodium-dependent vitamin C
transporter type II (SVCT2), found in cells of most other tissues,
suggesting its implication in the transport to the intracellular
On the other hand, cellular uptake of DHAA is performed by
ubiquitous glucose transporters of the GLUT family in duode-
num and jejunum (Deutsch, 2000) and, hence, as a likely con-
sequence of sharing the same transporters, changes in glucose
serum levels, characteristic of same metabolic diseases cours-
ing with glycemic deviation as diabetes, may reduce the DHAA
bioavailability (Agus et al., 1997; Rumsey et al., 1997). Fur-
thermore, regardless that the AA and the glucose are absorbed
in distinct segments of the small intestine and through different
transporters, glucose also could interfere with AA uptake since
ascorbate transport depends on an electrogenic process modu-
lated by glucose (Malo and Wilson, 2000). Therefore, glucose
content of foods and glycemic state of the subject also may mod-
ify the total vitamin C bioavailability, which must be taken into
account in order to guarantee the accurate vitamin C nutritional
status upon the variations in dietary habits.
Other factors altering the vitamin C absorption are the phe-
nolic compounds present in Brassica, secondary metabolites
with health-promoting effects that modify metabolic processes
(Vallejo et al., 2002b; Williams et al., 2004; Moreno et al., 2006;
Velasco et al., 2011). In fact, antagonistic effects on AA uptake
have been exhibited by different flavonoids including flavanols,
flavones, and isoflavones through the inhibition of SVCT1 (J.
B. Park and Levine, 2000; Song et al., 2002). On the other
hand, flavonoids and phenolic acids have also been considered
as blockers of intestinal glucose transporter isoform 2 (GLUT2)
and, therefore, able to regulate the glucose transport (C. Park
et al., 1999; Song et al., 2002; Manzano and Williamson, 2010).
Hence, in relation to this effect on the glucose metabolism,
another indirect interaction between phenolics and vitamin C
might be established owing to the role of glucose in vitamin
C absorption. Nevertheless, further trials should be designed in
order to assess the effects of Brassica polyphenols on vitamin
C bioavailability.
Glucosinolates, the other group of compounds characteris-
tics of Brassica, and their cognate bioactives, isothiocyanates,
could also affect the dietary availability of vitamin C. To this
date, there no a report or communication linking both directly,
either glucosinolates or isothiocyanates, to AA or DHAA ab-
sorption. However, isothiocyanates have been suggested to alter
the behavior of glucose transporter GLUT4 in vitro, and thereby
varying the glucose transport (Goto et al., 1992; Sujatha et al.,
2010). Similarly, DHAA absorption could also be affected be-
cause of the shared uptake mechanism used by both DHAA
and glucose (Deutsch, 2000). Therefore, new studies should be
performed to investigate whether Brassica glucosinolates may
vary the bioavailability of the vitamin C contained in the food
matrix, presumably by modifying the glucose metabolism.
After absorption, vitamin C forms are transported to the cells
by blood vessels, and during this distribution to the tissues, they
must be protected from oxidative reactions, being its interaction
with metal ions such as copper, iron, molybdenum, or cobalt
the major risk factors for AA oxidation. In fact, to prevent
deleterious reactions, ions reactivity is controlled by specific
chaperones (Harrison et al., 2000).
Once inside the cells, AA acts as cofactor and electron donor
in a broad number of enzymatic and nonenzymatic processes
in all cellular compartments. These reactions yield ascorbate
free radical (AFR) (De Tullio and Arrigoni, 2004) that is pro-
cessed to DHAA into the endoplasmic reticule as the main
route by which AA is oxidized to DHAA (Arrigoni and De
Tullio, 2002). Later on, AFR may take part of other metabolic
processes intended for its reduction back to AA: by NADH-
dependent AFR-reductase in the endoplasmic reticule and mi-
tochondria (Green and O’Brien, 1973) and by NAD(P)H in an
electron transport system mediated by CoQ in the plasma mem-
brane (Villalba et al., 1995; G´
ıaz et al., 1997). Even
so, the human organism is able to recycle the oxidized AA
(DHAA) to the reduced form (AA), but this path is not enough
for supplying the metabolic requirements and, hence, additional
external contributions by dietary sources are necessary. Conse-
quently, Davey et al., 2000, proposed that increasing half-life
and efficiency of each ascorbate molecule by the increase of the
DHAA recycling from erythrocytes, through improving erythro-
cyte glutathione (GSH) levels, could be an strategy to enhance
AA bioavailability (Davey et al., 2000). In recent years, de-
spite a GSH rise has been asserted in both in vitro models and
humans trials after Brassica foods ingestion and phytochemical
supplementations (M. F. Chen et al., 1995; Wark et al., 2004;
Pappa et al., 2007; Emmert et al., 2010), other studies with
human subjects displayed controversial results (Nijhoff et al.,
1995; Riso et al., 2009). These differences could be due to the
glutathione-S-transferase (GST) genotypic polymorphisms and,
thus, it seems reasonable that Brassica foods can increase cellu-
lar levels of GSH and/or GST in certain human genotypes (Wark
et al., 2004). Therefore, vitamin C intake related to Brassica
consumption might improve the bioavailability of this essential
nutrient by reducing the DHAA, owing to an augment of GSH
levels. Nevertheless, this hypothesis should be carefully evalu-
ated since it is currently believed that AA recycling is addressed
to limit DHAA formation as a tool to prevent deleterious or
toxic effect of DHAA, prior to being an efficient tool to provide
AA requirements. In fact, pernicious effects of DHAA on cells
have been reported when high levels are available, leading to
mitochondria damage (Martensson and Meister, 1991; Arrigoni
and De Tullio, 2002). But, interestingly, severe damage is only
presented under both GSH and ascorbate deficit (Martensson
and Meister, 1991), which constitutes an easily reversible status
through Brassica supplementation thanks to the high vitamin C
content in Brassica products as well as to the ability of Brassica
phytochemicals to increase the GSH levels (Chen et al., 1995;
Wark et al., 2004; Pappa et al., 2007; Emmert et al., 2010; Pen-
nington and Fisher, 2010). Hence, the likely improved reduction
of physiological DHAA after Brassica consumption, far from
being pernicious, might entail an improved bioavailability of
vitamin C.
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1086 R. DOM´
Finally, for the urinary excretion of vitamin C, the circulating
AA is filtered in kidneys and part of the primary AA excreted is
further reabsorbed into the capillary bed surrounding the proxi-
mal convoluted tubules (Nelson et al., 1978). The physiological
machinery (digestive, circulatory, and renal systems) works to-
gether guarantying the supply of essential vitamin C. In this way,
when the intake of foods rich in vitamin C is low, the majority of
the vitamin contained in the food matrix is rapidly absorbed into
the small intestine and reabsorbed into the kidneys. However,
when high concentrations of vitamin C are ingested, the effi-
ciency of the absorption and reabsorption is modulated, turning
to a “less-efficient mechanism” in order to guarantee the opti-
mum vitamin C serum level (60–100 μmol L1) for the normal
development of physiological functions, avoiding the pernicious
effect of its excess (Levine et al., 1996).
4.2. Human Requirements for Vitamin C
Physiological stage, health condition, age, sedentary habits,
smoking, etc., are a plethora of factors that determine the neces-
sary dietary intake of vitamin C. The physiological mean con-
centration of vitamin C has been established in 20 mg Kg1of
body weight in well nourished humans being, whereas saturation
level is reached at 33 mg Kg1. Likewise, vitamin C disappears
of the organism at a rate of 3% per day, appearing deficiency-
related symptoms when levels fall below 7 mg Kg1during de-
pletion of vitamin C-rich foods (Blanchard, 1991; FAO, 2004).
Considering both absorption efficiency and catabolic rate of vi-
tamin C, the dose of 10 mg per day constitutes the minimal
supply for guarantying the physiological necessities, or to re-
vert any pathological sign linked to its deficiency. Consequently,
vitamin C recommended dietary allowance (RDA) was estab-
lished from 10 to 60 mg per day (Krebs-Smith and Clark, 1989).
Nevertheless, this recommended dose is currently under reeval-
uation because of available novel epidemiological data relating
vitamin C consumption to new physiological functions. There-
fore, the necessity of dietary intake ranges from 90 to 100 mg per
day to prevent cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Indeed, the
recommendation raised the level to 120 mg per day for prevent-
ing specific pathological conditions such as cataracts, although
this extremely high level needs to be experimentally supported
with further studies (Carr and Frei, 1999; FAO, 2004). Addition-
ally, other health disorders including diabetes, cachexia, drugs
dependence, and malabsorption syndrome may influence the
vitamin C requirements (Rebouche, 1991; Mart´
ı et al., 2009).
These health problems are connected to the vitamin C absorp-
tion and/or excessive ingestion and must be accounted for the
accurate determination of the daily needs of vitamin C.
Certain physiological conditions or developmental states also
require different vitamin C supplementation. For example, preg-
nancy and lactation are special physiological conditions with ex-
tra needs (as a result of a higher intensity of organic processes
as well as liquid retention and body mass differences) entailing
variations in vitamin C nutritional requirements. In this way,
while the RDA of vitamin is increased during pregnancy (by
16%) over the nonpregnant women, additional requirements for
dietary vitamin C are around 50–58% during lactation, to fulfill
both the mother and the infant needs, depending on the lac-
tation phase (Urgell et al., 1998). Likewise, during childhood,
the daily recommended intake for infants of 1–18 years of age
is 30–40 mg per day and it must be gradually increased un-
til reaching the necessities described for adulthood (Rees and
Shaw, 2007). Interestingly, regarding elderly, despite the fact
that the metabolic rate is decreased, higher doses are required
since vitamin C plasma concentration of this population group
is lower than in young adults, which has mainly been attributed
to disturbances in the intestinal and renal function (Heseker and
Schneider, 1994).
With respect to smoking, it has been suggested that smokers
need a 50% higher intake of vitamin C than nonsmokers to
ensure an optimal physiological concentration of AA able to
cope with the much higher oxidative reactions occurring in their
bodies as a consequence of this toxic habit (Kallner, 1987).
These general considerations on the vitamin C requirements
for distinct sub-population of humans are closely linked with the
dietary habits of the different collectives considered. In this way,
the requirements abovementioned convert the intake of fruits
and vegetables in a necessary source of vitamin C, among which
Brassicaceae is a highlighted vegetables family that guarantee
a healthy status in human populations, conferring additional
advantages (it constitutes a simultaneous source of fiber and
other essential vitamins and minerals) in comparison with the
use of synthetic forms on this nutrient. In addition, the extraction
of vitamin C from natural products reduces, and almost makes
it disappear, the risk of surpassing the upper limit.
This safe upper limit for vitamin C consumption has been
established in around 1 g per day as higher intakes have been re-
lated to pathological signs. Supplementation with 2–3 g per day
may cause diarrhea as a consequence of osmotic disturbances
of the unabsorbed vitamin C (Hathcock et al., 2005). Likewise,
it has also been described the oxalate-stone formation in kid-
neys when vitamin C is ingested in the range of 5–10 g per day,
although this has only been associated with high amounts of
urinary calcium (Urivetzky et al., 1992). Haemolysis has been
pointed out as triggered by toxic doses of vitamin C as well
(Delanghe et al., 2007). Moreover, chronic doses of 500 mg per
day or acute doses of 1–3 g may cause toxic effects expressed
as vasoreactivity, with relevant considerations on cardiovascular
and cerebrovascular diseases (Carr and Frei, 1999). However,
clinical findings linked to excessive intake of vitamin C are very
limited and linked to the administration of nutritional supple-
ments and not to vegetable foods (including Brassica or any
other natural foods).
Vitamin C has been pointed out as an essential nutrient with
an active role in the maintenance of body functions, displaying
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a wide range of therapeutic properties such as antioxidant, an-
ticarcinogenic, cofactor in the collagen synthesis, and promoter
of iron absorption (Hallberg et al., 1987; Franceschi et al., 1994;
Yoshikawa et al., 2001; Arrigoni and De Tullio, 2002; Telang
et al., 2007). In fact, a broad number of reports have been per-
formed in order to demonstrate the health-promoting properties
of vitamin C (Mart´
ı et al., 2009). Nevertheless, only a few works
have been focused on the role of dietary vitamin C on health,
even though the well-established effect of other nutrients and
the food matrix on the bioavailability of this vitamin is evident
as reviewed above. Regarding this, long periods with an insuffi-
cient intake of fresh vegetable foods can produce a reduction in
the serum levels of AA, with dramatic consequences, increasing
the formation of reactive oxygen species, leading to a greater
incidence of chronic diseases and aging (Benzie, 2003; Li and
Schellhorn, 2007b). Brassica foods have been related to the pre-
vention of degenerative diseases linked to oxidative processes
(Jahangir et al., 2009). In Brassicas, the 80% of their natural
antioxidant activity comes from phenolic compounds and vi-
tamin C, being vitamin C responsible of 10–12% of the total
antioxidant capacity of broccoli and cabbage (Podsedek, 2007).
In general, despite the complete range of reactions in which
vitamin C may be involved, as well as the sense of its contribu-
tion, that is not fully understood, its antioxidant properties, the
protection against free radicals, cytoprotective functions such
as prevention of DNA mutation, protection against lipid per-
oxidative damage, and repairing amino acid residues to save
the protein integrity have all been suggested (Hoey and Butler,
1984; Barja et al., 1994; Lutsenko et al., 2002). Moreover, the
consumption of Brassica foods as source of vitamin C has ad-
ditional advantages in comparison with other dietary sources of
vitamin C. In fact, joined to the rich-in-phytochemicals Brassica
food matrix, these health-promoting properties attributed to vi-
tamin C could be interestingly boosted. Actually, a wide range
of positive effects on some cardiovascular diseases has been
displayed by Brassicas in several assays (Kataya and Hamza,
2008; Akhlaghi and Bandy, 2010) and prospective studies. Kim
et al. has shown that the incorporation of dark green leafy cru-
ciferous foods to the diet can prevent coronary artery disease
in hypercholesterolemic men by decreasing risk factors (Kim
et al., 2008). In accordance to this, the regular supplementation
of kale juice reduces the intestinal lipid absorption, modulating
the lipid profile and thereby decreasing serum lipid substrates
available for peroxidation. So, the efficiency of the antioxidant
system was increased and, thus, the oxidative disturbances and
related conditions were eased (Kim et al., 2008).
Oxidative reactions are also in the basis of cancer initiation
and, hence, vitamin C may play an essential role in its pre-
vention (Lutsenko et al., 2002). Mechanism of action of AA
in the prevention of the deleterious activity of free radicals has
been connected to the generation of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)
from O2and to the induction of apoptosis in cancer cells since
normal cells are significantly more resistant to H2O2than can-
cerous ones (Chen et al., 2005; Frei and Lawson, 2008). Healthy
levels of vitamin C in the organism can prevent DNA mutation
induced by oxidative stress as well (Lutsenko et al., 2002). Like-
wise, vitamin C has carried out functions related to cancer risk
reduction through diet, as it has been pointed out in epidemio-
logical trials, and the correlation between vitamin C intake and
cancer prevention has shown higher significance when consum-
ing fruits and vegetables as source of vitamin C instead of the
synthetic form (Dennison et al., 1998; Chen et al., 2005; Moreno
et al., 2006; Frei and Lawson, 2008). These contributive effects
have been also attributed to the role of other phytochemicals
with anticarcinogenic properties in Brassica (Tiku et al., 2008;
Jahangir et al., 2009; Kusznierewicz et al., 2010). In this sense,
glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, phenolic compounds, and vita-
min C may act synergistically in therapeutic functions. Clinical
trials supplementing single vitamins and minerals have indi-
cated the dependence or pharmacological benefits of vitamin
C owed to synergistic effects of food components in fruits and
vegetables (Blot et al., 1993; Loria et al., 2000; Bjelakovic et al.,
2007). Therefore, therapeutic features associated with Brassica
consumption are generated from the influence of multiple bioac-
tives acting in a cooperative action better than the sole biological
action of a single agent and more developments on this area are
As conclusive remarks, in spite of the many experimental
approaches existing so far, on the biological activity derived
of Brassica consumption, further comprehensive studies are re-
quired and should be conducted to ascertain the in vivo prospects
of such products, as the majority of the experimental procedures
have been carried out with in vitro models. Likewise, experimen-
tal animal and human interventions focused on the elucidation
of the multiple therapeutic properties of vitamin C in Brassica
vegetables and aiming to improve the real dimension of the
connections between food, nutrition, and health are needed.
Authors would like to express their gratitude to the Spanish
Ministery of Science and Innovation (MICINN) for the funding
through the projects CICYT (AGL2007-61694). Part of this
work was also funded by the project “Group of excellence”
(04486/GERM/06) from the Regional Agency for Science and
Technology of Murcia (Fundaci´
on S´
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... These crops exhibit an engaging nutritive profile since they provide considerably high amounts of fiber and protein when compared to other horticultural crops (3), besides having high antioxidant activity. This is related to phenolic compounds, especially flavonoids, and vitamin C contents (4)(5)(6)(7) although it is also related to the carotenoid (8) and vitamin E (5) content. However, what differentiates Brassica crops from other horticultural crops is the presence of the secondary metabolites called glucosinolates (GSL). ...
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Background Glucosinolates (GSLs) constitute a characteristic group of secondary metabolites present in the Brassica genus. These compounds confer resistance to pests and diseases. Moreover, they show allelopathic and anticarcinogenic effects. All those effects are dependent on the chemical structure of the GSL. The modification of the content of specific GSLs would allow obtaining varieties with enhanced resistance and/or improved health benefits. Moreover, the attainment of varieties with the same genetic background but with divergent GSLs concentration will prompt the undertaking of studies on their biological effects. Objective and Methods The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of two divergent mass selection programs to modify GSL content in the leaves of two Brassica species: nabicol ( Brassica napus L.), selected by glucobrassicanapin (GBN), and nabiza ( Brassica rapa L.), selected by gluconapin (GNA) through several selection cycles using cromatographic analysis. Results The response to selection fitted a linear regression model with no signs of variability depletion for GSL modification in either direction, but with higher efficiency in reducing the selected GSL than in the increasing. The selection was also effective in other parts of the plant, suggesting that there is a GSL translocation in the plant or a modification in their synthesis pathway that is not-organ specific. There was an indirect response of selection in other GSL; thus this information should be considered when designing breeding programs. Finally, populations obtained by selection have the same agronomic performance or even better than the original population. Conclusion Therefore, mass selection seems to be a good method to modify the content of specific GSL in Brassica crops.
... Vitamin C, an antioxidant, is an essential nutrient for the human body. Brassica foods have been described as a dietary source of this vitamin, which may work synergistically with the wealth of bioactive compounds present in these foods (41). The content of vitamin C was 6.6 mg AA g −1 dw on average in bróquil and 5.6 mg AA g −1 dw in broccoli. ...
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Brassicaceae edible plants are rich in bioactive compounds and promote health benefits. However, there is less interest in expanding knowledge about the Brassica cultivars to date. In particular, underutilized species and local cultivars could constitute a source of agrodiversity in adapting to the territory with likely higher contents of nutraceutical compounds. In this context, Bróquil (Brassica oleracea var. italica) is a traditional Brassicaceae crop grown in the Spanish region of Aragón. Currently, it is cultivated mainly in family orchards for autoconsumption and, in minority, in small farms for local markets. This study evaluates a collection of 13 bróquil landraces from the Spanish Vegetable Genebank of the Agrifood Research and Technology Center of Zaragoza (BGHZ-CITA), describing their mineral contents, bioactive compounds, and antioxidant activities, including a broccoli commercial variety “Parthenon” as the control. The study reports data on the health-promoting nutrients and antioxidants of bróquil for the first time. Under our experimental conditions, we found that bróquil has a great variability for these compounds that showed on average similar or higher levels than the broccoli control. The different bróquil landraces also revealed variability in both intraccessions and interaccessions due to the lack of a formal breeding selection. Despite this variability, we highlight accession HB5 that corresponds to Headed Bróquil BGHZ6685. In particular, we can stand out its antioxidant activity of 87.07 ± 0.81%I, total phenolic content of 13.21 ± 0.53 mg GAE g−1 dw, total flavonoid content of 14.50 ± 1.29 mg QE g−1 dw, total glucosinolate content of 43.70 ± 1.09 mg SnE g−1 dw, and vitamin C content of 7.21 ± 0.13 mg AA g−1 dw. Regarding bróquil mineral composition, K was the highest macroelement (22.66–33.62 mg g−1 dw), followed by Ca, P, and S whose values were relatively lower compared to K. Mg and Na showed the lowest values. Among the microelements evaluated (Mn, Zn, and Fe), iron was the most abundant detected, higher in all bróquil accessions than in broccoli, except for one accession. Therefore, the results reported for bróquil landraces show promising nutritional quality. This could lead to an increase in agrobiodiversity and contribute to a more diversified and healthy diet.
... Sayuran dan buah dapat menjadi sumber vitamin C yang dapat dikonsumsi untuk memenuhi kebutuhan vitamin C setiap hari (Domínguez-Perles et al., 2014) (Paciolla et al., 2019), seperti buah nenas (Ananas comosus) di mana Indonesia menjadi salah satu produsen penghasil nenas terbesar di Dunia (Nweze, Abdulganiyu and Erhabor, 2015) (Wali, 2019). Akan tetapi, kandungan vitamin C pada nenas dapat bervariasi tergantung pada, salah satunya, tempat tumbuh (Sun et al., 2015). ...
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Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant that affect the body immune system. Vitamin C deficiency is related to the high risk of infection disease manifestation. Consuming vitamin C of 100-200 mg/day is effective to optimize physiological functions of tissues and cells. Fruits are a natural source of vitamin C that can be consume to achieve vitamin C requirement intake, such as Ananas comocus. However, the vitamin C content in Ananas comocus can be varied depending on some factors, such as their varieties, growth environment, and preparation. This research aims to determine vitamin C content in some fresh Ananas comocus fruits from three plantations in Teluk Meranti area, Pelalawan using Spectrophotometry UV-Vis method, that is a suitable method for vitamin C content determination. The result shows that the calibration curve of vitamin C giving a good linearity, with r value of 0,9943. Vitamin C content in the three plantation was varied. The content from the plantation 1, 2, and 3 was 51,1889; 48,3320; dan 144,200 mg/100 g. Keywords: fresh fruit, spectrophotometer, vitamin C content determination, Teluk Meranti, Ananas comocus
... Cherry tomatoes grown with higher amounts of NaCl had higher amounts of vitamin C and tocopherol but gave lower yields [60]. Temperature during the growing season can alter vitamin C amounts, with colder temperatures often resulting in higher amounts, and higher temperatures in decreased amounts, including in broccoli and other Brassicas [44,61]. Temperature during storage may alter levels, with vitamin C losses up to 60% occurring in potatoes after weeks of cold storage [62,63]. ...
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Many environmental stresses cause an increase in reactive oxygen species in plants and alter their nutritional value. Plants respond to many stresses by producing increased amounts of compounds with antioxidant properties including vitamins, phenylpropanoids and carotenoids. Such compounds have wide-ranging health-promoting effects in humans that are partly due to their antioxidant function because oxidative stress underlies many human diseases. Some of these compounds have complex interactions with the gut, promoting gut health and changing the gut microbiome, whereas the gut influences the bioavailability of the ingested compounds and may metabolize them into products with different effects on health than the original compound. Substantial efforts have been made to increase the nutritional value of crops through breeding or transgenic approaches, but comparatively little effort has been directed towards increasing nutritional value through crop management and environment, which may present another approach to enhance the nutritional quality.
... . As hortaliças deste grupo são excelentes fontes de nutrientes para população principalmente de sais minerais, antioxidantes como as vitaminas A, B, C e K, e carotenóides (Freire et al., 2003;Domínguez-Perles et al., 2014). ...
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The aim of this study was to analyze glucosinolates (GSLs) in germplasm that are currently conserved at the RDA-Genebank. The analysis focused on the glucosinolate diversity among the analyzed germplasms, with the goal of identifying those that would be most useful for future breeding efforts to produce nutritionally rich Choy sum plants. In total, 23 accessions of Choy sums that possessed ample background passport information were selected. On analyzing the glucosinolate content for 17 different glucosinolates, we observed aliphatic GSLs to be the most common (89.45%) and aromatic GSLs to be the least common (6.94%) of the total glucosinolates detected. Among the highly represented aliphatic GSLs, gluconapin and glucobrassicanapin were found to contribute the most (>20%), and sinalbin, glucoraphanin, glucoraphasatin, and glucoiberin were detected the least (less than 0.05%). We identified one of the accessions, IT228140, to synthesize high quantities of glucobrassicanapin and progoitrin, which have been reported to contain several therapeutic applications. These conserved germplasms are potential bioresources for breeders, and the availability of information, including therapeutically important glucosinolate content, can help produce plant varieties that can naturally impact public health.
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Microgreens, considered “superfood”, are easy to cultivate and very rich in health-promoting compounds, as antioxidants. White cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata) microgreens contain high quantities of phenolics, which contribute together with other bioactive compounds to their important antioxidant properties. The present study analyses the effects of development stage (5-, 7- and 9-days) and two sodium salts, NaCl and Na2SO4, in two concentrations (0.01 M and 0.1 M), on the antioxidant properties of white cabbage microgreens. Among the three development levels, the 5-day microgreens revealed the highest total phenolic content, DPPH radical scavenging and total reducing capacities. Concerning the effects of sodium salts, 0.01 M NaCl and 0.1 M Na2SO4 determined higher total reducing capacity. Additionally, 0.01 M NaCl induced the highest DPPH radical scavenging capacity, while the most important total phenolics and anthocyanins contents were obtained in case of 0.1 M Na2SO4. In conclusion, from the developmental point of view, the 5-day old microgreens present, globally, the best characteristics. Considering the elicitor effects of sodium salts, 0.01 M NaCl and 0.1 M Na2SO4 generally determined the strongest antioxidant properties. The results could be used to develop new production technologies for antioxidant-enriched microgreens.
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A Região Serrana do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (RSA-RJ) possui características edafoclimáticas favoráveis ao cultivo das mais variadas espécies de hortaliças e se localiza relativamente próxima a grande mercado da Região Metropolitana do Rio de Janeiro (IBGE, 2017; EMATER, 2020a, b). Dentre as diferentes hortaliças produzidas, merecem destaque as brássicas, assim chamadas por serem espécies pertencentes à família botânica Brassicaceae. Dentre as brássicas mais cultivadas e comercializadas nesta região estão as couves, da espécie Brassica oleracea, que são classificadas a nível infra específico em quatro variedades botânicas: couve-flor (B. oleracea var. botrytis), brócolis (B. oleracea var. italica), repolho (B. oleracea var. capitata) e couve-comum (B. oleracea var. acephala) (Melo et al., 2017). Estimativas apontam a colheita de mais de 105 mil toneladas de hortaliças do grupo das brássicas na RSA-RJ no ano de 2020, provendo um faturamento bruto de mais de 169 milhões de reais (EMATER-RJ, 2020a). Dentre os principais municípios produtores, destacam-se Nova Friburgo e Teresópolis com as maiores colaborações nesta produção (EMATER-RJ, 2020a, b; CEASA-RJ, 2021). Além da grande importância econômica, as brássicas têm grande importância social, para produtores e consumidores. O seu cultivo e comercialização são grandes geradores de empregos e de renda, com ênfase na agricultura familiar, uma vez que, o cultivo destas espécies está fortemente relacionado a este segmento (May et al., 2007; Santos, 2020). A produção de brássicas na RSA-RJ destina-se ao abastecimento do mercado local e, principalmente, da região metropolitana do Rio de Janeiro, além de parte da região Sudeste do Brasil. A RSA-RJ pode ser considerada uma parte importante do cinturão verde da capital e um importante polo econômico do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (CEASA-RJ, 2015; Bhering, 2017; Santos, 2020), sendo grande parte da produção comercializada nas Centrais de Abastecimento do Estado (CEASA-RJ). Diante do exposto, o presente trabalho tem como objetivo atualizar as informações, tendo como base as últimas pesquisas com culturas de brássicas, assim como relatar dados recentes sobre importância econômica e sistemas de produção adotados na Região Serrana do Estado do Rio de Janeiro.
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Six different cultivars of broccoli were analyzed for the major antioxidant phytochemicals. Significant differences (p < 0.05) were observed amongst the cultivars for vitamin C, beta-carotene, lutein, a-tocopherol and phenolic contents at edible maturity stage. Vitamin C content ranged from 25.5 to 82.3 mg/100 g; maximum was in 'NS-50' (82.3 mg/100 g) and 'Lucky' had minimum (25.5 mg/100 g). The beta-carotene and lutein contents ranged from 0.48 to 1.13 mg/100 g and from 0.41-1.02 mg/100 g, respectively. Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) content ranged from 0.22 to 0.68 mg/100 g; maximum tocopherol was in 'Sultan' (0.68 mg/100 g). The phenolic content ranged from 44.5 to 82.9 mg/100 g; maximum was in 'Sultan' (2.9 mg/100 g) and minimum in 'Hybrid No.2' (44.5 mg/100 g).
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Background: Broccoli inflorescences are rich in health promoting compounds such as vitamin C which may contribute to the high antioxidant capacity found in freshly- harvested broccoli. However, high looses of this essential compound has been reported after harvesting. Objective: Modified atmosphere packaging has been shown to be potentially useful in storability and quality retention of Broccoli florets; however, supplemental methods of extending shelf life are desirable because of the high fermentation product. Method: In this way florets were treated post harvest with benzyl adenine at 50 ppm before packaging in polymeric bags (polyethylene and polypropylene) and storage at 1°C. Factors including ethylene production, chlorophyll, vitamin C, fermentation product, appearance, pH and titrable acidity were measured every three day intervals. Results: During storage of cytokinin treated florets under MAP, all changes related with loss of quality were reduced and delayed with time. Additionally vitamin C remained almost unchanged. This improved retention was mainly due to decreased ethylene production. Conclusion: Cytokinin treatment significantly reduced fermentation product in packaged broccoli.
Our previous report showed that human fetal lung fibroblasts secreted non-disulfide-bonded, non-helical collagenous polypeptides of alpha1(IV)and alpha2(IV) chains depending on culture conditions [Connective Tissue (1999) 31, 161-168]. The secretion of non-helical collagenous polypeptides is unexpected from the current consensus that such polypeptides are not secreted under physiological conditions. The absence of interchain disulfide bonds among alpha1(IV) and alpha2(IV) chains was always correlated with the absence of triple-helical structure of the type IV collagen. The finding corresponds with the fact that the interchain disulfide bonds are formed at or close to the completion of the type IV collagen triple-helix formation. The present report shows that ascorbate is the primary factor for the triple-helix formation of the type IV collagen. When human mesangial cells were cultured with ascorbate, only the triple-helical type IV collagen was secreted. However, when the cells were cultured without ascorbate, the non-helical alpha1(IV) and alpha2(IV) chains were secreted. Relative amounts of the secreted products were unchanged with or without ascorbate, suggesting that ascorbate is required for the step of the triple-helix formation. The ascorbate-dependency of the triple-helix formation of the type IV collagen was observed in all the human cells examined. The non-helical alpha1(IV) chain produced by the ascorbate-free culture contained about 80% less hydroxyproline than the alpha1(IV) chain from the triple-helical type IV collagen. The evidence for the non-association of the non-helical alpha1(IV) and alpha2(IV) chains in the conditioned medium was obtained by an anti-alpha1(IV) antibody-coupled affinity column chromatography for the conditioned medium. Although all the non-helical alpha1(IV) chains were found in the bound fraction, all the non-helical alpha2(IV) chains were recovered in the flow through fraction. The present findings suggest that ascorbate plays a hey role in the trimerization step of three or chains and/or in the subsequent triple-helix formation of the type IV collagen.
Chinese cabbage (Brassica campestris L. pekinensis group) can be manufactured into a good quality minimally processed product; however, little is known of the fate of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in a sliced, washed and cooled (4°C) Chinese cabbage product and its distribution in different portions of the Chinese cabbage head. Minimally processed Chinese cabbage lost 13% of Vitamin C by the end of storage life at 4°C. This is not of major nutritional concern, as the product would be consumed well before the end of storage life. Leaching of Vitamin C during processing was not significant. The Vitamin C content was highest in the more coloured outer (27mg/100g) and inner leaves (22mg/100g), containing either chloroplasts or protochloroplasts. The middle leaves, the bulk of leaves present in Chinese cabbage, and the core contained 14-17mg/100g Vitamin C. During minimal processing the outer leaves and the core together with the inner leaves may be trimmed and this will clearly have the most significant effect of lowering the average Vitamin C content of the minimally processed product.
The tomato is one of the most important vegetables worldwide because of its high consumption, year round availability and large content of health related components. Broccoli has shown to be rich in antioxidants. The vegetables were grown at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (59°40'N). Greenhouse grown tomatoes cvs. 'Durinta', 'Favorita' (cherry tomato) and 'Liberto' were harvested green and vine ripe. Colour measurements (L*, a *, b*) and chemical analyses were performed on green, postharvest red and vine ripe tomatoes. Fruits were analysed for antioxidant activity, soluble solids, titratable acidity, dry matter and L-ascorbic acid. Green unripe tomatoes contained considerably less antioxidants than ripe fruits. Postharvest and vine-ripened fruits had higher values of titratable acidity, dry matter, soluble solids, antioxidant activity and L-ascorbic acid. There were no significant differences in the antioxidant activity between postharvest ripened and vine ripened tomatoes. 'Favorita' tomatoes were higher in antioxidant activity, L-ascorbic acid, dry matter, soluble solids and titratable acidity than the other cultivars. Field grown broccoli heads (cvs. 'Lord', 'Maraton', 'Montop') were stored at 1 and 5°C in either controlled atmosphere (2% O2/6% CO2 and 0.5-1% O2/10% CO2) or air for 4 weeks. The heads were analysed for total antioxidant activity, L-ascorbic acid and dry matter at the time of harvest and after storage. There was a considerable overlap between the different temperatures and storage atmospheres. The antioxidant activity and L-ascorbic acid content increased during storage.
Broccoli quality in British Columbia can vary with season and with the farm site on which it is grown. One major management difference between farms is nitrogen fertilization rate. This work was conducted to determine the effect of nitrogen fertilization (0, 125, 250, 375, 500 and 625 kg N ha⁻¹) and growing season (three plantings in 2 consecutive years) on vitamin C content, head size and storability of broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. Italica, 'Emperor'). The climatic conditions during crop growth and development had a greater overall effect on vitamin C content, head diameter and head weight than nitrogen fertilization. Weight and vitamin C losses during storage in the first year were not affected by nitrogen fertilization rates. Moderate nitrogen application rates of 125 and 250 kg N ha⁻¹ in all three plantings produced a head size considered optimal for marketing. Key words: Postharvest, vegetable quality, climatic conditions
The effects of edible coatings and mild heat shocks on quality aspects of refrigerated broccoli were studied. Minimally processed broccoli was coated with either chitosan or carboxymethyl-cellulose with or without a previous application of a mild heat shock of 1.5min at 50°C. Product was packaged in multilayered polyolefin bags and stored at 5°C for 18d. Quality parameters such as weight loss, texture, colour, ascorbic acid content, total chlorophyll content, oxygen concentration inside the bags, browning potential, mesophilic aerobic counts, and sensory quality, were evaluated during storage. Edible coatings exhibited a beneficial impact on broccoli quality. The weight loss in uncoated broccoli was found to be between 2 and 5 times higher compared to coated samples. During storage, coated florets from both thermally and non-thermally treated samples, presented higher retention of the (−a*/b*) ratio indicating better green colour retention and a reduced rate of floret yellowing. Chitosan coating always presented the lower ascorbic acid degradation rates (twofold lower compared with control samples). Broccoli texture for uncoated samples increased significantly during storage. However, for carboxymethyl-cellulose coated broccoli a slight increase in texture was observed while for chitosan coated broccoli no significant changes in texture were observed throughout the storage period. After the edible coating application the microbial broccoli load dropped by around 1.5 and 0.9logarithmic units in chitosan and carboxymethyl-cellulose films, respectively. During storage, the application of chitosan coating significantly reduced total microbial counts in the thermally and non-thermally treated uncoated samples. Among the assayed edible coatings, chitosan effectively maintained quality attributes and extended shelf life of minimally processed broccoli. The single application of a mild heat shock had a measurable influence in reducing weight loss, enzymatic browning in broccoli stems, and in delaying yellowing of broccoli florets. Moreover, chitosan coating combined with a mild heat shock showed the best performance for long-term refrigerated storage of minimally processed broccoli.