In situ observation of the generation of isothiocyanates from sinigrin in horseradish and wasabi

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2001 Aug 15;1527(3):156-60. doi: 10.1016/s0304-4165(01)00161-1.


Sulfur K-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy has been used to determine the chemical identity of the sulfur-containing species in horseradish (Armoracia lapthifolia) and wasabi (Wasabia japonica) in situ, before and after cell disruption. The major sulfur-containing species in the intact root is sinigrin (1-thio-beta-D-glucopyranose 1-N-(sulfoxy)-3-buteneimidate) and related congeners. Disrupting the cells by applying local pressure allowed the conversion of the sulfur moieties in sinigrin to isothiocyanates and sulfate in approximately equimolar amounts. In contrast to previous suggestions, no detectable thiocyanates were formed, but an unusual thio intermediate may have been identified for the first time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Brassica / metabolism*
  • Electron Probe Microanalysis
  • Glucosinolates / chemistry
  • Glucosinolates / metabolism*
  • Glycoside Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Isothiocyanates / chemistry
  • Isothiocyanates / metabolism*
  • Models, Chemical


  • Glucosinolates
  • Isothiocyanates
  • sinigrin
  • Glycoside Hydrolases
  • thioglucosidase