Thesis subject

Glucosinolates in Food Production & Consumption Chain

Topic 1. Effect of meal composition on the formation and bioavailability of glucosinolates from broccoli.


Brassica vegetables are rich in glucosinolates (GLs), phytochemicals that can be hydrolysed by myrosinase (MYR), an endogenous plant enzyme. During mastication, plant cells are damaged and MYR catalyses the GL hydrolysis forming breakdown products including isothiocyanates (ITC), with anticarcinogenic properties. A few small studies show the effect of different meal composition on ITC bioaccessability. For instance, proteins may interact with ITC during digestion depending on the amino acid composition and the ITC type, reducing the ITC bioaccessability. The in vitro digestion can be a useful tool to investigate the ITC formation and availability when eating broccoli along with other food components. The aims of to investigate the effect of broccoli meal composition (like proteins, fibre, fat) on ITC formation and bioaccessability by means of in vitro digestion. The student will set up the in vitro digestion to digest broccoli along with different meal components. GLs (HPLC), MYR (spectrophotometric assay)and ITC (LC/MS) at different stage of the in vitro digestion will be monitored.

For more information on this topic please contact Teresa Oliviero.

Topic 2. Develop and test a mathematical model to link processing induced product properties to the bioavailability of isothiocyanates from glucosinolate.

Product properties can have an influence in the behaviour of the product during digestive processes in the human body. The bioavailability of phytochemicals can be influenced by the effect of processing on the food matrix.


Linking product properties to product changes during digestion and consequences for the bioavailability of phytochemicals.

Man glucosinolates.PNG

For more information on this topic please contact Matthijs Dekker

Topic 3. In vitro digestion of functional pasta enriched with broccoli and β-glucan.

Pasta can be considered as a staple food because it is eaten routinely and in such quantities that it constitutes a dominant portion of the diet on many populations worldwide
Pasta enriched with vegetable can be a good strategy to increase the vegetables intake, because (1) pasta is routinely consumed (2) dry pasta is a perfect carrier to stabilise phytochemicals that otherwise are easily degraded.
These attributes make pasta a perfect matrix for functional food development.
Some of the breakdown products of glucosinolate, secondary plant metabolites of Brassica vegetables, show anticarcinogenic bioactivity on many types of cancers. β-glucans are water-soluble fibre that occurs in cereals. β-glucans are the only dietary fibre currently recognized by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to be able to reduce a disease risk for instance by reduction of blood cholesterol concentrations. The aim of this topic is to investigate the effect of (1) pasta formulations (different concentration of glucosinolate and β-glucans) and (2) dry processing on in vitro digestion to study how the different formulation and drying process affect the bioaccessibility of glucosinolate. During this project students will prepare the sample by making and cooking pastas differently formulated. Then, the student will set up the in vitro digestion to digest the pasta samples. Pasta samples and digested pasta samples will be analysed mainly by measuring glucosinolates (HPLC), breakdown product (LC/MS and GC/MS).

For more information on this topic please contact Teresa Oliviero or Vincenzo Fogliano.