The intrinsic quality of brassicaceous vegetables: How secondary plant metabolites are affected by genetic, environmental, and agronomic factors
From the order Brassicales, different plant organs, such as inflorescences (e.g. broccoli and cauliflower), leaves (e.g. kale and pak choi), heads (e.g. white and red cabbage), as well as roots and bulbs (e.g. radish and turnip), are frequently consumed brassicaceaous vegetables. The order Brassicales is characterized by a specific group of secondary plant metabolites, namely the glucosinolates. Glucosinolates and their breakdown products the isothiocyanates are linked to conferring beneficial health effects. In addition, some studies have also highlighted the
beneficial health effects of phenolic compounds and carotenoids, both well-known as antioxidants. Of interest is that the profiles and concentrations of secondary plant metabolites vary enormously between the species, and genetic factors are thought to affect this the most. Further, environmental and agronomical factors are also known to change concentrations of secondary plant metabolites enormously. The main physiological mechanism to produce secondary plant metabolites is defense. Thus, the intrinsic quality, including color, aroma, taste, and beneficial health properties of brassicaceous vegetables, is remarkably affected by secondary plant metabolite profiles and concentrations.
Neugart, S.; Baldermann, S.; Hanschen, F.S.; Klopsch, R.; Wiesner-Reinhold, M.; Schreiner, M. 2018. The intrinsic quality of brassicaceous vegetables: How secondary plant metabolites are affected by genetic, environmental, and agronomic factors. Scientia Horticulturae 233, 460-478.