Open access peer-reviewed chapter

Phytochemical Composition and Antioxidant Potential of Brassica

By Haq Nawaz, Muhammad Aslam Shad and Saima Muzaffar

Submitted: October 28th 2017Reviewed: March 1st 2018Published: October 24th 2018

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.76120

Downloaded: 1351


The edible parts of Brassica plants are a rich source of phytochemical compounds which possess strong antioxidant potential. These plants contain a variety of phytochemical compound including phenolics, polyphenols, phenolic acids, flavonoids, carotenoids (zeaxanthin, lutein, β-carotene), alkaloids, phytosterols chlorophyll, glucosinolates, terpenoids, and glycosides. These plants possess strong antioxidant potential in terms of metal reducing, metal chelating, lipid reducing and free radical scavenging activities. These also have a positive effect on the activity of antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, catalase, and ascorbate peroxidase. Among various species of genus Brassica studied for their phytochemical composition and antioxidant activity, Brassica oleracea leaves, florets and seeds have better phytochemical and antioxidant profile. Brassica juncea, Brassica napus, Brassica rapa and Brassica nigra are also the phytochemical and antioxidant rich species of genus Brassica. The phytochemical profile and antioxidant potential of Brassica plants make them the preferable candidates for nutritional and pharmaceutical applications.


  • antioxidant potential
  • antioxidant enzymes
  • Brassica plants
  • free radical scavenging capacity
  • bioactive phytochemicals
  • phytochemical composition

1. Introduction

Brassicais a genus of plants family Cruciferaealso called Brassicaceaewhich consists of about 350 genera and almost 3500 species. Brassicais the most important of all the genera of this family. Most of the species this genus have worldwide importance due to their economic, nutritional, medicinal, and pharmaceutical value. These species are cultivated as vegetables, oilseed crops, animal forage and medicinal herbs throughout the world. Oilseed crops of Brassicaproduce 14% of the world’s vegetable oil, the third most important source of edible oil after soybean and palm.

The genus Brassicais classified as:

FamilyCruciferae or Brassicaceae

Some commonly used Brassicaspecies of nutritional and medicinal importance are enlisted below [1]:

SpeciesSubspecies/var.Common name
Brassica oleraceaCapitata F. albaWhite Cabbage
Capitata F. rubraRed or purple cabbage
Capitata L.Green cabbage
ItalicaItalian broccoli, Chinese broccoli
GemmiferaBrussels sprouts
Sabellica L.Curly kale
Acephala L.Kale
AlboglabraChinese kale, kailan
BotrytisCauliflower, Italian cauliflower
SabaudaSavoy cabbage
GongylodesKohlrabi, stem turnip, Knol khol
CostataPortuguese cole, Tronchuda cabbage
Brassica junceaCzern L.Mustard, Indian mustard, Leaf mustard,
Brassica junceaCoss L.,Green mustard
Brassica junceaIntegrifoliaKorean leaf mustard, Multi-shoot mustard
Brassica rapa or.
Brassica campestrisRapifera L./Rapa LSarson, Turnip rape, Field mustard, Bird
rape, canola, Turnip top.
Pekinensis L.Chinese cabbage
ParachinesisChines cabbage, Choi sum, Sawi
Brassica napusNapobrassicaOilseed rape, rape, oilseed rape, Canola
Brassica carinataEthiopian rapeseed
Brassica nigraKoch L.Black mustard
Brassica junceaCrispifoliaCurled mustard
Brassica hirtaSinapis albaWhite or yellow mustard
Brassica elongataElongated mustard
Brassica fruticulosaMediterranean cabbage
Brassica hilarionisHilarion’s Brassica, St. Hilarion Lahanas
Brassica kaberWild mustard, Charlock, Field mustard
Brassica balearicaMallorca cabbage
Brassica fruticulosaMediterranean cabbage.
Brassica hilarionisSt Hilarion cabbage.
Brassica rupestrisBrown mustard
Brassica tournefortiiAsian mustard
Brassica narinosaBroad beaked mustard
Brassica geniculataHoary mustard
Brassica elongateElongated mustard
Brassica septicepsSeven top turnip
Brassica perviridisTender green, mustard spinach

B. oleraceais the most important species of genus Brassicadue to its cultivation, consumption and nutritional and medicinal value. The members of this species are commonly called as cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. These are equally used as vegetables for human and forage for animals. B. juncea, B. napus, B. nigra, B. napus, B. carinata and B. rapaare the other commonly used species of this genus which are used as vegetables and a source of vegetable oil. The parts of Brassicaplants used as food and medicine include root, shoot, stem, leaves, leaf buds, flower buds, florets, landraces, sprouts, inflorescence, seeds, seed oil, and callus. The Brassicaplants are very rich and economical source of a variety of nutritional (carbohydrates, lipids, protein, vitamins, and minerals) and phytochemical components of medicinal value.


2. Phytochemical composition

2.1. Phytochemical quality

Phytochemicals are non-nutritious chemicals that are derived from plants and provide defense against diseases in humans. They are oxidation preventive and sweep out free radicals, the byproducts of biochemical processes. They provide safeguard against different neurological, cardiac and many other physiological ailments and protect important biomolecules from oxidative damage [2]. Brassicaplants are the rich source of phytochemical compounds of medicinal importance. A large no of Brassicaplants has been studied for their bioactive phytochemical components and antioxidant potential. The bioactive compounds and antioxidant potential of commonly used species of Brassicaplants are given in Table 1. The bioactive phytochemical compounds commonly found in most of the Brassicaspecies include polyphenols, phenolic acids, flavonoids, carotenoids (zeaxanthin, lutein, β-carotene), alkaloids, tannins, saponins, anthocyanins, phytosterols chlorophyll, glucosinolates, phytosteroids, terpenoids, glycosides, vitamin C, Vitamin E and aliphatic and aromatic amines [3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16]. B. oleraceavar. Capitata, B. oleraceavar. Italica, B. oleraceavar. Botrytis, B. juncea, B. rapaand B. nigracontain a treasure of phytochemical compounds of medicinal and pharmaceutical importance. Due to the presence of these compounds, Brassicaplants show biological activities against various diseases and have been found to effective in treating various diseases in human. The edible parts of these plants show antimicrobial, antibacterial, antidiabetic, antimalarial, antiaging, antiulcer, anti-hyperglycemic, anti-hyperlipidemic, anti-proliferative, neuroprotective, antidiabetic, anti-genotoxic and antioxidant activities [17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25].

Species/subspeciesPhytochemical components and biological activityReference
B. oleracea
Capitata F. alba
Leaves are rich source of phytochemicals including phenolics, phenolic acids, sophoroside-glucosides and vitamin C with good antioxidant activity in terms of PORS and ORAC.[5, 34, 35]
B. oleracea
Capitata L.
Leaves and flower buds contain phenolic acids, phenols, polyphenols, tannins, saponins, carotenoids (zeaxanthin, lutein, β-carotene), alkaloids, phenols, phytosterols and chlorophyll, glucosinolates, terpenoids flavonoids, glycosides, steroids, anthocyanins and aliphatic and aromatic amines. It shows antioxidant activity in terms of FRAP, ICA, LARC, hydroxyl and DPPH radical scavenging activities. Leaves possess antioxidant enzymes including POD, SOD, and CAT, inhibit DNA methylation, and prevent DNA damage and threats of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.[6, 21, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41]
B. oleracea
Capitata F. rubra
Leaves are rich in phytochemicals including phenolics, carotenoids (zeaxanthin, lutein, β-carotene) glucosinolates, anthocyanins and vitamin C with good antioxidant activity in terms of free radical scavenging capacity.[15, 35, 40]
B. oleracea
Florets and stem contain phenolics, phenolic acids, polyphenols, sophoroside-glucosides, flavonoids, alkaloids, steroids, phenols, tannins, saponins, glutathione, glucosinolates (glucoraphanin, glucobrassicin, neoglucobrassicin), terpenoids, coumarins, cumins, cardiac glycosides, xanthoproteins, glycosides, carotenoids (zeaxanthin, lutein, β-carotene), tocopherols, phytosterols, chlorophyll, free sugars and vitamin C, and possesses antioxidant activity. It possesses antioxidant enzymes including POD, SOD, and CAT. It inhibits DNA methylation and prevents DNA damage and threats of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. It also possesses Antiproliferative, neuroprotective, antidiabetic, and antigenotoxic activities.[5, 21, 29, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50]
Seeds also possess antioxidant activity (ABTS, DPPH and SOA radical scavenging activity).[51]
B. oleracea
Leaves are rich in phytochemicals including phenolic acids, phenols, flavonoids, glucosinolates, thiocyanates, carotenoids (zeaxanthin, lutein, β-carotene), phytosterols and chlorophyll. It possesses antioxidant activity in terms of free radical scavenging capacity and antioxidant enzymes activity (POD, SOD, and CAT). It inhibits DNA methylation, prevent DNA damage and threats of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.[35, 40]
B. oleracea
Sabellica L.
Leaves contain phenolics, polyphenols, glucosinolate, sugars, flavonoid, and flavonoids glycoside and show antioxidant activity in terms of FRAP, DPPH radical scavenging activity[38, 52]
B. oleracea
Acephala L.
Leaves contain polyphenols, Vitamin C and carotenoids (β-carotene) and possess antioxidant activity (ABTS radical scavenging activity).[53]
AlboglabraLeaves contain phenolics, Polyphenols, Glucosinolate, and Carotenoids (zeaxanthin, lutein, b-carotene),[40]
B. oleracea
Florets and leaves contain phenolics, polyphenols, alkaloids, saponins, tannins, steroids, flavonoids, glucosinolates, volatiles, reducing sugars and vitamin C. The aqueous and ethanolic extracts of root and leaves show antioxidant activity in terms of Fe reducing, Cu reducing, and Fe2+ chelating activity, ORAC, and DPPH, ABTS, and SOA radical scavenging activity. Florets possess antioxidant enzymes including POD, SOD, and CAT. It inhibits DNA methylation, prevent DNA damage and threats of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. It also possesses thrombolytic and cytotoxic activities.[10, 42, 47, 54, 55, 56, 57]
B. oleracea
Leaves are rich in phytochemicals including phenolics, chlorophyll, and glucosinolate (sinigrin) with good antioxidant and pro-oxidant activity in terms of ABTS and DPPH radical scavenging capacity.[7, 30, 35]
B. oleracea
The extracts of knobs in various solvents have been found to improve the antioxidant status of liver and kidneys of diabetic animals by increasing the SOD and CAT activities.[21]
B. oleracea
Seeds, sprouts, and leaves possess the ability to reduces hypochlorous acid, inhibit hydroxyl, SO, and DPPH radicals. These also show a concentration-dependent increase in the activity of antioxidant enzyme SOD.[3, 4]
B. junceaL. Czern.Leaves contain flavonoids, terpenoids, tannins, reducing sugars vitamin C, benzenepropanoic acid, n-eicosane, n-pentacosane and n-tetratetracontane. It enhances the activity of antioxidant enzymes including GPx, CAT, and APx. Seeds contain sinigrin, quercetin, catechin, sophoroside-glucosides and vitamin E and seed oil possesses antioxidant activity in terms of FRAP, Fe chelating and DPPH and SOA radical scavenging activity. It also possesses cytotoxic activity.[5, 12, 13, 15, 28, 54, 58, 59]
B. junceaL. CossIt contains phenolic compounds with antioxidant activity in terms of FRAP and DPPH radical scavenging activity.[58]
B. junceaintegrifoliaGermplasm contain glucosinolates (sinigrin gluconasturtin and progoitrin).[16]
B. rapaL. Rapifera or B. campestrisRoot, stem, leaves, and flowers contain phenolics including 3-p-coumaroylquinic, caffeic, ferulic and sinapic acids, kaempferol sophoroside-glucosides and organic acids including aconitic, citric, ketoglutaric, malic, shikimic and fumaric acids. Roots possess antioxidant activity in terms of FRSC, RP, ILPO, and DPPH and SOA radical scavenging capacity. It also possesses cytotoxic activity.[4, 54, 60, 61, 62]
B. rapaL. PekinensisLeaves possess antioxidant activity in terms of Fe reducing, oxygen radical absorbing capacity, and are also active against DPPH and ABTS radicals.[63]
B. rapaL. ParachinesisLeaves contain phenolics, flavonoids, and anthocyanins possessing antioxidant activity in terms of DPPH radical scavenging activity.[9]
B. napusNapobrassicaRoot and leaves possess antioxidant activity in terms of FRAP, inhibit lipid peroxidation and increase the SOD and GPx activity.[32]
B. nigraL. KochLeaves, Seeds and callus contain phenolics (gallic acid, catechin, epicatechin, myricetin, quercetin, and rutin), flavonoids, tannins, saponins, sinigrin, cyanogenic and cardiac glycosides, alkaloids, glutathione reducing sugar, phlobatannins and volatile oil and possess antioxidant and antiradical activity (ORAC, FRAP, and DPPH and ABTS radical scavenging capacity).[11, 14, 22, 25, 64, 65, 66]

Table 1.

Bioactive phytochemical components and biological activities of some commonly used Brassicaspecies.

ABTS: 2, 2-azinobis-(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid), APx ascorbate peroxidase, CAT: catalase, DPPH: 2, 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl, FRAP: ferric reducing antioxidant power, FRSC: free radical scavenging capacity, GPx: glutathione peroxidase, ICA: iron chelating activity, ILPO: inhibition of lipid peroxidation, LARC: linoleic acid reduction capacity, ORAC: Oxygen radical absorbance capacity, POD: peroxidase, PORSC: peroxide radical scavenging capacity, RP: reducing power, SO: superoxide, SOA: superoxide anion, SOD: superoxide dismutase.

2.2. Phytochemical content

The major phytochemical compounds quantitatively estimated in various species of Brassicainclude phenolics, flavonoids, ascorbic acid (Vit. C) glucosinolates, carotenoids, and tocopherols. Tables 2 and 3 present the phytochemical content (total phenolic content: TPC, total flavonoid content: TFC, ascorbic acid content: AAC, total glucosinolate content: TGC, total carotenoid content: TCC, and total tocopherol content: TTC) of various extracts of some edible parts of commonly used Brassicaspecies. The aqueous and organic extracts of the various parts of Brassicaplants have been found to contain the considerable amounts of phenolics, flavonoids, carotenoids, ascorbic acid, and tocopherols which advocate the suitability of Brassicaplants for pharmaceutical applications. Among Brassicaspecies, B. oleraceavar. Capitata,B. oleraceavar. Italica, and B. juncea, B. rapaare high in phenolics, flavonoids and carotenoids.

Species/subspeciesParts usedExtracting solventTPC (GAE)TFCAACReferences
B. oleracea
Capitata F. Alba
LeavesEthanol, methanol, acetone14.78–18.7 mg/g extract4.12–8.80 mg QE/g extract[67]
70% methanol, phosphoric acid20–29 mg/100 g fw18–35 mg/100 g fw[35]
Terminal leaf budsWater43.87 mg/g[68]
B. oleracea
Capitata F. Rubra
Leaves70% methanol134–171 mg/100 g fw[24]
B. oleracea
Capitata L.
Leaves80% methanol3.64 μM/g dw[37]
LeavesVarying polarity solvents34–520 mg/100 g dw3.20–8.30 g/100 g extract[41]
Varying polarity solvents402–556 mg/100 g fw[6]
Flower buds80% methanol, phosphoric acid4.14 mM/g dw62–72 mg/100 g fw[37]
leaf budsWater53.85 mg/g[68]
B. oleracea
FloretEthanol, methanol, acetone17.9–23.6 mg/g extract12.5–17.5 mg CE/100 g[67]
Water48.76 μg/ml extract69.64 μg/ml extract25.0–29.48 μg/ml extract[46]
Florets, LeavesMethanol, phosphoric acid533.6–740 mg/100 g317–816 mg CE/100 g298.6–474.7 mg/100 g[47]
FloretsMethanol43–75 mg/kg dw2.1–4.0 mg/kg dw[29]
Inflore-scenceWater1.816 mg/g fw[48]
B. oleracea
SproutsEthanol, methanol, acetone18.12–20.4 mg/g extract12.1–15.4 mg CE/100 g[67]
70% methanol, phosphoric acid133–140 mg/100 g fw129–127 mg/100 g fw[35]
B. oleracea
LeavesWater35.64 mg/ g dw13.98 mg QE/g dw[52]
Edible portionEthanol30.51–38.30 mg/ g extract28.99–70.69 mg QE/g extract[9]
B. oleracea
Acephala L.
Edible LeavesEthanol574.9 mg/100 g fw, 6.37 mM/100 g62.27 mg/100 g fw[53]
B. oleracea
Edible floret80% ethanol782.43 mg/100 g dw267.21 mg CE/100 g dw769.23 mg/100 g[69]
B. oleracea
Botrytis Cimosa
Edible portionEthanol2.24 mM/ g
Inflore-scenceWater30.4 mg/g[68]
Florets, leavesMethanol350–1345 μg/100 g90–780 mg CE/100 g[47]
phosphoric acid396–649 mg/100 g[47]
B. oleracea
Leaves70% methanol, phosphoric acid47–59 mg/100 g fw49–51 mg/100 g fw[35]
B. oleracea
LeavesMethanol102.71 mg/100 g fw[60]
B. junceaL. Czern.LeavesWater0.1 mg/g fw[70]
Leaf, stemHexane methanol water3.01–3.85 mg/100 g sample[58]
B. junceaL. Coss SareptanaLeaf, stemHexane methanol water14.12–19.78 mg/100 g sample[58]
B. rapaRapifera L.Root70% ethanol0.21–2.59 g/100 g dw[61]
Water5.640 mg/g[68]
Root, Shoot, LeavesMethanol30–78 mg/100 g fw4.1–8.5 mg RE/g fw0.13–0.25 mg/g[71]
B. rapaPekinensis L.Leaves75% Methanol150–347 mg/100 g61.9–328.707.04–13.68[63]
B. rapaParachinesisLeavesEthanol42.32–42.92 mg/g extract49–133 mg QE/g extract[9]
B. nigraL.Seeds oil142.86 μg/ml23.43 μg CE/ml[64]

Table 2.

Phenolic, flavonoids and ascorbic acid content of commonly used Brassicaspecies.

AAC: Ascorbic acid content, CE: Catechin equivalent, dw: Dry weight, fw: Fresh weight, GAE: Gallic acid equivalent, QE: Quercetin equivalent, RE: Rutin equivalent, TFC: Total flavonoid content, TPC: Total phenolic content.

Species/subspeciesParts usedExtracting solventTGCTCCTTC
mg/100 g fw
B. oleracea
Capitata F. Alba
LeavesHexane4.35–10.07 mg/100 g fw0.008–0.22[35]
Terminal leaf budsWater4.33 mg/g[68]
B. oleracea
Capitata L.
Leaves, Flower buds80% Methanol0.28–12.51 μM/g dw[37]
B. oleracea
Capitata F. Rubra
LeavesHexane2.73–2.80 mg/100 g fw0.61–0.11[35]
Terminal leaf budsWater4.35 mg/g[68]
B. oleracea
Florets, LeavesMethanol2.12–9.66 μM/g dw[47]
B. oleracea
SproutsHexane2.31–2.6 mg/100 g fw0.545–0.83[35]
B. oleracea
Botrytis Cimosa
Edible portionAcetone, petroleum ether126.22 mg/100 g dw[69]
Inflore-scenceWater2.62 mg/g[68]
Florets, leavesMethanol1.97–8.80 μM/g dw[47]
B. oleracea
LeavesHexane5.55–6.25 mg/100 g fw0.011–0.078[35]
B. oleracea
Capitate var. aabuada
LeavesMethanol195.22 μM/100 g fw[7]
B. oleracea
Stem20.69 mg/g0.79 mg/g[68]
B. rapaRapifera L.RootWater2.04 mg/g[68]
B. rapaPekinensis L.Leaves75% Methanol3.93–18.87[63]

Table 3.

Glucosinolate, total carotenoids and tocopherol content of commonly used Brassicaspecies.

TCC: Total carotenoid content, TGC: Total glucosinolate content, TTC: Total tocopherol content.

3. Antioxidant potential

Antioxidants are the compounds which prevent the oxidation of the biomolecules by reducing the oxidizing agents and being self-oxidized. These compounds have the ability to scavenge the free radicals produced during the redox reactions occurring in the living and nonliving systems and prevent the free radical chain reactions. In this way, the antioxidant compounds minimize the oxidative stress and prevent the oxidative damage to food materials and living organisms. Brassicaplants are known to possess antioxidant properties due to the presence of antioxidant phytochemicals mainly the polyphenols, flavonoids and ascorbic acid. Most of these phytochemical compounds act as antioxidants due to their hydrogen donating and reducing abilities. Polyphenols are the phytochemicals which act as metal ion chelators and interfere with oxidation reactions including lipid peroxidation by donating the proton to free radicals. Phenoxy radicals are relatively stable to stop the oxidation chain reaction. Therefore, they stop the initiation of new oxidation chain reaction and terminate the propagation routs by capturing free radicals [26]. Polyphenols are used for the treatment of hypertension, vascular fragility, allergies and hypercholesterolemia due to their antimicrobials, antiulcer, antidiarrheal, and anti-inflammatory activities. Flavonoids possess metal ion chelating and free radical scavenging potential [27]. These phytochemicals comprise a vast antioxidant, antiproliferative and inhibitory action on inflammatory cells especially mast cells. Ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin which possesses strong antioxidant potential and protects against oxidative damage.

The antioxidant activities of various extracts of some edible parts of commonly used Brassicaspecies are presented in Tables 4 and 5. The Brassicaplants have been found to possess metal reducing, metal chelating, lipid reducing and free radical scavenging activities [24, 28, 29, 30]. These also possess antioxidant enzyme activities as these have been found to enhance the activities of some antioxidant enzymes including glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, catalase, heme oxygenase and ascorbate peroxidase [21, 31, 32, 33] (Table 6). B. oleraceaplants have been studied most for their antioxidant activities among the Brassicaspecies and found to possess strong antioxidant potential in terms of reducing power and free radical scavenging capacity. The strong antioxidant potential of Brassicaplants highlights their medicinal and therapeutic importance.

Species/subspeciesParts usedExtracting solventTAOAFRAPICAReferences
B. oleraceaCapitata L.Leaves80% Methanol18.3 μM TE/g dw[72]
Series of solvents574 g GAE/100 g dw[41]
Flower buds80% methanol15.37 μM TE/g dw[37]
B. oleraceaItalicaSprouts74.48–93.2%35–75 g Fe2+E/kg dw[29]
Inflore-scenceWater0.998 mM FeSO4/g fw[48]
B. junceaL. Czern.Seed oilEthanol, hexane55.15%[13]
Leaf, stemHexane methanol water2.25–3.12 mM FeSO4/100 g sample[58]
B. junceaL. CossLeaf, stemHexane methanol water3.23–7.75 mM FeSO4/100 g sample[58]
B. rapaRapifera L.1.68 mM/L[31]
B. rapaPekinensis L.87–714.5 μM TE[63]
B. napusNapobrassicaLeaves, root0.91–2.31 Units[32]
B. nigraL.Seed oil23.85%[64]

Table 4.

Total antioxidant activity, metal reducing and metal chelating ability of commonly used Brassicaspecies.

FRAP: Ferric reducing antioxidant power, GAE: Gallic acid equivalent, ICA: Iron chelating activity, TAOA: Total antioxidant activity, TE: Trolox equivalent.

Species/subspeciesParts usedExtracting solventDPPH·SOA·ABTS·References
B. oleraceaCapitata F. AlbaEthanol, methanol, acetoneIC50: 1.01–1.40 mg/ml[67]
70% methanol0.77–1.0 μM AAE/g fwIC50: 4.35–10.07 mg/ml1.34–1.8 μM TE/g fw[35]
B. oleraceaCapitata F. Rubra70% methanol6.76–9.19 μM AAE/g fwIC50: 2.73–2.80 mg/ml9.8–12.6 μM TE/g fw[35]
B. oleraceaCapitata L.Leaves80% methanol14.94 μM TE/g dw24.78 μM TE/g dw[37]
Series of solventsIC50: 0.006–0.16 mg/ml[41]
Series of solvents59.18–75.65% IC50: 4.2–8.7 μg/ml[6]
Flower buds80% Methanol12.51 μM TE/g dw25.16 μM TE/g dw[37]
LeavesEthanol7.316 μM
AAE/g fw
water15.14 M
AAE/g fw
B. oleraceaItalicaFloretEthanol, methanol, acetoneIC50: 0.71–1.35 mg/ml[67]
Florets leavesMethanolIC50: 2.27 mg/ml[47]
Inflore-scenceWaterEC50: 0.25 mg/ml[48]
B. oleraceaGemmiferaEthanol, methanol, acetoneIC50: 0.8–1.22 mg/ml[67]
70% methanol3.90–5.98 μM AAE/g fwIC50: 2.31–2.60 mg/ml5.85–7.04 μM TE/g fw[35]
B. oleraceaAlboglabraLeavesWaterIC50: 18 μg/ml[52]
Ethanol1.26–2.72% IC50: 0.90–0.99 mg/ml[9]
B. oleraceaBotrytisFlorets80% ethanol68.91%[69]
SeedDCMIC50: 1.51–2.75 mg/mlIC50: 0.17–0.26 mg/ml[54]
B. oleraceaBotrytis CimosaEdible portionEthanolEC50: 6.51 mg/l[8]
B. oleraceaSabauda70% methanol1.38–1.68 μM AAE/g fwIC50: 5.55–6.25 mg/ml2.89–3.74 μM TE/g fw[35]
B. oleraceaAcephalaEdible leavesEthanolIC50: 1.53 mg/ml33.22 μM TE/g fw[8, 53]
B. junceaL. CzernSeedHexane40.2–70.2%[13]
DCMIC50: 2.76–5.79 mg/mlIC50: 0.059–0.46 mg/ml[54]
Hexane methanol water4.23–6.41 mM TE/100 g sample[58]
B. junceaL. CossHexane methanol water6.86–8.18 mM TE/100 g sample[58]
B. rapaRapifera L.Root70% ethanolIC50: 0.23–2.00 mg/ml[61]
Root Shoot LeavesMethanol13–26%[71]
Root aerial parts70% ethanol11.11–86.3%[62]
SeedDCMIC50: 2.78–5.92 mg/mlIC50: 0.003–0.03 mg/ml[54]
B. rapaPekinensis L.Leaves75% methanol92–239 μM TE175–393 μM TE[63]
B. rapaParachinesisLeavesEthanol5.5–6.26% IC50: 0.55–1.01 mg/ml[9]
B. nigraL.OilseedEthanol89.25%[64]

Table 5.

Free radical scavenging potential of commonly used Brassicaspecies.

AAE: Ascorbic acid equivalent, ABTS·: DPPH: EC50: Effective concentration required for 50% inhibition, IC50: Inhibitory concentration required for 50% inhibition, SOA: Superoxide anion radical, TE: Trolox equivalent.

B. oleracea
41.26–42.35 U/mg protein (liver), 34.43–39.38-U/mg protein (kidney)42.06–43.70 U, (Liver)
5.50–4.59 U
B. junceaL. Czern.1.58x103 U/mg GSH utilized/ min/mg protein3.75 μM H2O2 disposed/ min/g protein0.05–0.32 μM biliverdin reduced/ min/mg protein)0.52–0.61 mM APx oxidized/min/mg protein,[33]
B. rapaRapifera L.6981 U/L220 U/ml95.23 μM/ml[31]
B. napusNapobrassica4.18–19.92 U/mg protein66.80–202.30 U/mg protein[32]

Table 6.

Antioxidant enzyme activities of commonly used Brassicaspecies.

APx: ascorbate peroxidase, CAT: Catalase, GPx: Glutathione peroxidase, GSH: Glutathione, HO: Heme oxygenase, SOD: Superoxide dismutase.

4. Factors affecting the antioxidant activity of Brassicaplants

Antioxidant activity of Brassicaplants has been studied to be effected by various factors including solvent polarity, extraction time, temperature, cooking methods and nutritional and environment stress (Table 7). The increase in the polarity of the extracting solvent, extraction time and salinity stress has resulted in an increase in the antioxidant activity of Brassicaplants. However, an increase in the temperature results in a reduction in the antioxidant potential of these plants. The steam boiling and microwave cooking methods result in a time-dependent decrease in the phytochemical content and antioxidant activity while water boiling, water blanching, steam boiling, steam blanching, microwave heating and stir-frying result in the reduction of antioxidant potential of Brassicavegetables.

Solvent polarityAntioxidant activity increases with increasing the polarity of extracting solvent.[61]
treatment Time
Increase in extraction time resulted in an increase in phytochemical content and antioxidant activity.[41]
TemperatureHigh temperature resulted in a rapid decrease in flavonoid content of B. oleraceavar. Italica.[73]
Cooking methodSteam boiling and microwave cooking showed a time-dependent decrease in phytochemical content and antioxidant activity of green broccoli.
Water boiling, water blanching, steam boiling, steam blanching, microwave heating and stir-frying resulted in the reduction of antioxidant potential of cauliflower.
[46, 69]
Salinity stressExtracts of B. junceaL. under salinity stress have been found to be helpful in decreasing the oxidative stress by increasing the activity of activity of antioxidant enzymes.[33]

Table 7.

Factors affecting the phytochemical composition and antioxidant activity of some commonly used Brassicaspecies.

5. Conclusion

The edible of Brassicaplants have been found to be a rich source of phytochemical compounds which possess strong antioxidant potential. These plants possess strong antioxidant potential in terms of metal reducing, metal chelating, lipid reducing and free radical scavenging and antioxidant enzymes activities. Brassica oleraceahas been found to possess better phytochemical and antioxidant profile among Brassicaplants. Brassica juncea, Brassica napus, Brassica rapaand Brassica nigraare also phytochemical and antioxidant rich species of genus Brassica. The considerable amount of phytochemicals and antioxidant potential make the Brassicaplants the preferable candidates for nutritional and pharmaceutical applications.


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Haq Nawaz, Muhammad Aslam Shad and Saima Muzaffar (October 24th 2018). Phytochemical Composition and Antioxidant Potential of Brassica, Brassica Germplasm - Characterization, Breeding and Utilization, Mohamed Ahmed El-Esawi, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.76120. Available from:

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