The formation of plant-derived biomolecules during sauerkraut fermentation was studied. Cabbage was fermented with a starter culture, and the results were compared to the results of spontaneous fermentation. The concentration of flavonoids and glucosinolates was analyzed by HPLC, and that of the glucosinolate breakdown products, by GC-MS. Of the 20 different flavonoids tested, only kaempferol was found (0.9 mg/ kg FW, fresh weight). The content of kaempferol remained constant in the cabbage fiber matrix over the fermentation process. The nitrite concentration was below the detection limit in both fermentations. The total glucosinolate content in the raw material was 3.71 micro mol/g DW, dry weight. Glucosinolates were totally decomposed in both fermentations during two weeks, and different types of breakdown products were formed. Isothiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol, goitrin, allyl cyanide, and nitriles were determined in the fermented cabbage. Isothiocyanates and allyl cyanide were the predominant breakdown products in both fermentations. Sulforaphane nitrile and goitrin were found only in small quantities in the end products.