Antioxidative and antitumor properties of in vitro-cultivated broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica)

Pharm Biol. 2012 Feb;50(2):175-81. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2011.586040.


Context: Broccoli [Brassica oleracea L. var. italica Plenck. (Brassicaceae)] contains substantial quantities of bioactive compounds, which are good free radical scavengers and thus might have strong antitumor properties. Enhancing production of plant secondary metabolites could be obtained with phytohormones that have significant effects on the metabolism of secondary metabolites. In that manner, in vitro culture presents good model for manipulation with plant tissues in order to affect secondary metabolite production and thus enhance bioactive properties of plants.

Objective: Estimation of the antioxidative and antitumor properties of broccoli cultivated in different in vitro conditions.

Materials and methods: In vitro germinated and cultivated broccoli seedlings, as well as spontaneously developed calli, were subjected to Soxhlet extraction. Antioxidative activity of the herbal extracts was determined using 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH(•)) radical method. Antitumor properties of the extracts were determined using crown-gall tumor inhibition (potato disc) assay.

Results: Three, 10, 20, and 30 days old broccoli seedlings, cultivated in vitro on three different Murashige-Skoog media, two types of callus, and seedlings from sterile filter paper were used for extraction. In total, 15 aqueous extracts were tested for antioxidative and antitumor potential. Three day-old seedlings showed the highest antioxidative activity. Eleven out of 15 aqueous extracts demonstrated above 50% of crown-gall tumor inhibition in comparison with the control. Tumor inhibition was in association with types and concentrations of phytohormones presented in growing media.

Discussion and conclusions: It is demonstrated that phytohormones in plant-growing media could affect the bioactive properties of broccoli either through increasing or decreasing their antioxidative and antitumor potential.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / isolation & purification
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / isolation & purification
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Brassica / chemistry*
  • Culture Media
  • Free Radical Scavengers / isolation & purification
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology
  • Picrates
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Tumors / microbiology
  • Time Factors


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Antioxidants
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Culture Media
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Picrates
  • Plant Extracts
  • 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl