URBANA, Ill., May 19 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they’ve discovered specific agronomic practices can greatly increase the cancer-preventive chemicals found in broccoli and tomatoes.
“We enriched pre-harvest broccoli with different bioactive components, then assessed the levels of cancer-fighting enzymes in rats that ate powders made from these crops,” said University of Illinois Professor Elizabeth Jeffery.
She said the highest levels of detoxifying enzymes were found in rats that ate selenium-treated broccoli. The amount of one of the cancer-fighting compounds in broccoli was six times higher in selenium-enriched broccoli than in standard broccoli powder, she said.
Jeffery is now working to determine whether selenium compounds are directly responsible for the increase in bioactivity or if selenium acts indirectly by directing new synthesis of the broccoli bioactives called glucosinolates.
In a previous study, Jeffery and Professor John Erdman Jr. showed tomato and broccoli powders eaten together are more effective in slowing prostate cancer in laboratory rats than either tomato or broccoli alone.
They said they currently are experimenting with ways to increase the bioactive components to test the efficacy of enriched broccoli and tomatoes in a new prostate cancer study.
The study that included researchers Ann Liu and Sonja Volker appears in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
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