Evaporative light-scattering analysis of sulforaphane in broccoli samples: Quality of broccoli products regarding sulforaphane contents

J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Apr 5;54(7):2479-83. doi: 10.1021/jf051823g.


Broccoli sulforaphane has received attention as a possible anticarcinogen. Sulforaphane analysis is difficult due to the lack of a chromophore for spectrometric detection. Hence, we developed a method for determining sulforaphane by using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with an evaporative light-scattering detector (ELSD). Sulforaphane was extracted from acid-hydrolyzed broccoli samples, followed by solid-phase extraction and reversed-phase HPLC. Sulforaphane was detected by ELSD and concurrently identified by electrospray ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. The recovery of sulforaphane from broccoli samples was above 95%. The detection limit was 0.5 mug. The present method was sensitive enough to determine sulforaphane in mature broccoli, broccoli sprouts, and commercial broccoli products. Sulforaphane concentration in broccoli sprout (1153 mg/100 g dry weight) was about 10 times higher than that of mature broccoli (44-171 mg/100 g dry weight). Therefore, the broccoli sprout is recommended as a source of sulforaphane-rich products. In contrast, we found that sulforaphane could not be detected in most of broccoli products, suggesting present commercial broccoli products having low quality.

MeSH terms

  • Brassica / chemistry*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Hydrolysis
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Light*
  • Scattering, Radiation*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization
  • Sulfoxides
  • Thiocyanates / analysis*


  • Isothiocyanates
  • Sulfoxides
  • Thiocyanates
  • sulforaphane