• kales;
  • glucosinolates;
  • phenolics;
  • pigments;
  • growing environment;
  • geographic origin



Kales are primitive leafy Brassica oleracea L. forms, widespread in local farming systems of several European countries and employed in the preparation of traditional recipes. Kales are also potential sources of healthy bioactive phytochemical components. The present study compared the bioactive compound content of kale populations from Italy, Portugal, and Turkey, either from local sources or grown in an experimental field.


Total phenolics, glucosinolates (GLS), carotenoids, and chlorophylls were in the ranges 8310–38 110, 755–8580, 135–2354, and 1740–16 924 mg kg−1 dry matter, respectively. On average, locally harvested samples showed a total GLS content about twice as high as populations from the experiment. Conversely, pigments were significantly more abundant in experimental than in local kales, owing to the higher soil fertility. Portuguese samples showed higher phenolic and GLS amounts than Italian and Turkish kales, whereas some of the Italian samples were the richest in carotenoids.


This paper represented the first cross-country comparison of local kale accessions with respect to bioactive compound amounts. Both geographic origin and growing environment appeared to be remarkable and discriminating factors in determining bioactive levels in leafy kales, with possible effects on their health-promoting and sensorial attributes. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry