Isothiocyanates from Brassica Vegetables-Effects of Processing, Cooking, Mastication, and Digestion

Teresa Oliviero*, Ruud Verkerk, Matthijs Dekker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


The formation of health-beneficial isothiocyanates (ITCs) from glucosinolates depends on a wide variety of plant-intrinsic factors (e.g., concentration of glucosinolates, activity of myrosinase, and specifier proteins) and on a multitude of extrinsic postharvest factors such as the conditions used during industrial processing, domestic preparation, mastication, and digestion. All of these factors contribute to a large variability in the formation of ITCs (and other breakdown products), as well as their intake and absorption upon consumption of Brassica vegetables. This uncertainty in ITC intake and absorption is a barrier for the determination of an optimal Brassica vegetable consumption pattern. In this review, the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that affect the formation, intake, and absorption of ITCs are described according to the most recent findings. The focus of this review includes the hydrolysis reaction mechanisms, the elucidation of the primary factors that play a role in the hydrolysis reaction, the influence of processing and cooking conditions, the effect of chewing, and the roles of the gastric and upper intestinal phases, including the effect of the meal composition (e.g., the effect of other meal compounds present during digestion) on the potential formation of ITCs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Nutrition and Food Research
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018


  • Digestion
  • Glucosinolates
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Mastication
  • Processing


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