Sulforaphane is a phytochemical found is brassicas such as broccoli, cauliflower, cress and cabbage. We’ve blogged about it a number of times over the years: Freezing is broccoli’s kryptonite, Broccoli sprouts stop type II diabetes getting complicated, Broccoli for Autism?, Sulforaphane to fight prostate cancer cells.
Basically, the precursor to sulforaphane is called glucoraphanin and this is converted by the enzyme myrosinase, both of which are contained within the plant but only come together when the cells are damaged, i.e. when eating them. Sulforaphane has been shown to have beneficial effects on a range of problems, including oxidative stress, cancer, and inflammation. One problem with sulforaphane is that it breaks down very quickly.
In a paper published in the journal Food Chemistry, researchers have addressed this problem by encapsulating the sulforaphane in combinations of food grade bio polymers gelatin/gum arabic and gelatin/pectin. Using this set up the group were produce a fine powder of polymer phytochemical complex containing nearly 18% sulforaphane. They were also able to demonstrate a yield of over 80%. i.e. they showed that over 80% of the sulforaphane that was encapsulated could be detected after encapsulation.
The researchers suggest this demonstrates the feasibility of using microencapsulation to protect active compounds.