In cabbage, glucosinolates such as sinigrin are hydrolyzed by plant myrosinase to allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), allyl cyanide, and, in the presence of an epithiospecifier protein, 1-cyano-2,3-epithiopropane (CEP). Isothiocyanates have been implicated in the cancer-protective effects of Brassica vegetables. The effect of processing on the hydrolysis of glucosinolates was investigated in cabbage. Cabbage was steamed or microwaved for six time durations over 7 min. Glucosinolate concentrations were slightly reduced after microwave cooking (P < 0.001) but were not influenced after steaming (P < 0.05). Myrosinase activity was effectively lost after 2 min of microwave cooking and after 7 min of steaming. Hydrolysis of residual glucosinolates following cooking yielded predominantly CEP at short cooking durations and AITC at longer durations until myrosinase activity was lost. Lightly cooked cabbage produced the highest yield of AITC on hydrolysis in vitro, suggesting that cooking Brassica vegetables for a relatively short duration may be desirable from a health perspective.
- allyl isothiocyanate
- epithiospecifier protein