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Keywords:

  • sucrose;
  • fructose;
  • glucose;
  • free sugars;
  • broccoli;
  • white cabbage;
  • Portuguese cabbage;
  • growing season

Abstract

Consumption of Portuguese cabbage and white cabbage is very high in Portugal, but diets including broccoli have been highly recommended owing to recognition of the health-protective effects of secondary plant metabolites. Broccoli production is generally concentrated in the summer/winter season, but the demand for a fresh product throughout the year requires production in other seasons. Sugars might affect flavour and the acceptance of broccoli by consumers. This study reports the free fructose, glucose and sucrose content in primary and secondary inflorescences of 11 cultivars of broccoli, one white cabbage and four Portuguese cabbages grown in early (March–July) and late (August–January) seasons in the northern region of Portugal. On average the results show that the total free sugar content in the broccoli cultivars, except for cv Marathon, is significantly (P < 0.05) lower than in the other cabbages. Fructose was the major sugar in the three types of Brassica, representing between 48.8 and 56.9% of the total sugar content in broccoli cvs Marathon and Senshi respectively and between 48.7% (cv Mirandela) and 53.8% (cv Murciana) in the other cabbages. Glucose was the second major sugar, while sucrose represented a maximum of 20.5% in broccoli cv Shogun and 11.1% in cv Murciana. The growing season influenced the free sugar content, with generally higher levels in the spring/summer than in the summer/winter season in broccoli, while an opposite tendency was noted in the other Brassica species. In broccoli the sugar levels in the primary inflorescences were generally lower than in the secondary inflorescences, except for sucrose.

© 2001 Society of Chemical Industry