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Plant hormones

Natural plant hormone spray boosts broccoli's cancer-fighting potential

Saturday, October 19, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: plant hormones, broccoli, cancer-fighting potential

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(NaturalNews) What if it were possible to dramatically boost the nutritional density of broccoli, and thus maximize its inherent cancer-fighting potential, by simply spraying it with a plant hormone derived from the natural jasmine plant? Researchers from Illinois claim this is the case, having recently found that dousing broccoli plants with methyl jasmonate resulted in them producing far more cancer-fighting compounds like sulforaphane than non-treated plants.

Published in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the results of tests conducted on five different types of commercial broccoli varieties reveal that methyl jasmonate is capable of increasing the overall glucosinolate (GS) content of broccoli. Glucosinolates are sulfur-rich nutrient compounds found in cruciferous vegetables that induce the production of detoxification enzymes in the body, which in turn help scavenge and eliminate carcinogenic compounds.

For their research, Elizabeth H. Jeffrey from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her colleagues applied methyl jasmonate to the florets of five commercial broccoli hybrids, "Pirate," "Expo," "Green Magic," "Imperial" and "Gypsy." At the end of the growing season, the team collected samples of each of the broccoli varieties and tested them for levels of glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiin, and neoglucobrassicin, as well as their various hydrolysis products, which include sulforaphane.

Compared to non-sprayed broccoli, the levels of each of the aforementioned compounds increased by 11 percent, 59 percent, and 248 percent, respectively. Likewise, levels of sulforaphane increased by an astounding 152 percent -- sulforaphane, as you may recall, is the most widely recognized anti-cancer compound found in broccoli, which more than likely works synergistically with other GS hydrolysates to prevent and fight cancer.

"These results suggest that methyl jasmonate treatment can enhance QR (quinone reductase) inducing activity by increased hydrolysis of glucoraphanin into sulforaphane and the hydrolysis products of neoglucobrassicin," explain the authors in their abstract.

According to multiple sources, methyl jasmonate is one of the primary odor components of the jasmine plant and comprises some 3 percent of jasmine oil. It is also a flavor ingredient commonly used in oolong black tea. And as far as agriculture is concerned, methyl jasmonate is naturally released by jasmine plants when it comes under attack by insects or other invaders, which means it has a lot of potential as a natural pesticide.

Exposing frozen broccoli to myrosinase-rich cruciferous vegetables also boosts cancer-fighting potential of broccoli

Another way to boost the cancer-fighting potential of broccoli, and especially frozen broccoli, is to expose it to other cruciferous vegetables, like daikon radishes, that are high in myrosinase, a natural enzyme responsible for producing sulforaphane and other cancer-fighting compounds in broccoli. Since frozen broccoli contains almost no cancer-fighting nutrients due to its having been high-heat processed, this method can help restore and maximize the health benefits of this important vegetable.

"We were delighted to find that the radish enzyme was heat stable enough to preserve broccoli's health benefits even when it was cooked for 10 minutes at 120 degrees Fahrenheit," stated Edward B. Dosz, a graduate student at Jeffrey's laboratory who helped work on the earlier studies.

"Try teaming frozen broccoli with raw radishes, cabbage, arugula, watercress, horseradish, spicy mustard, or wasabi to give those bioactive compounds a boost," added Jeffrey.

You can read a summary of the full results of these earlier studies here: http://phys.org.

You can also read the published abstract of Jeffrey's new study on methyl jasmonate spray here: http://pubs.acs.org.

Sources for this article include:






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