Cabbage yield and glucosinolate concentrations as affected by nitrogen and sulfur fertility

Carl J Rosen, V. A. Fritz, Gary M Gardner, Stephen S Hecht, S. G. Carmella, P. M. Kenney

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Glucosinolates are a class of nitrogen (N) and sulfur (S) containing compounds shown to have cancer-preventing properties in animal models and widely found in cruciferous plants. The overall objective of this study was to determine whether N and S fertility affects glucosinolate concentrations in cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. Capitata group). Field studies on a sandy soil low in available N and S were conducted over a 2-year period with both green ('Grand Slam') and red ('Vorox') cabbage cultivars. Treatments evaluated each year were the interactive effects of N (125 and 250 kg·ha-1) and S (0, and 110 kg·ha-1) fertilizer application. Yield of both cabbage cultivars increased with increasing N and S in the second year of the study, but not in the first. Tissue N concentrations in heads at harvest increased with N application and tissue S concentrations increased with S application. When S was not applied, tissue S decreased significantly as N rate increased, while N rate had no effect on tissue S concentrations when S was applied. The dominant glucosinolate detected in both cabbage cultivars was glucobrassicin, with indole forms accounting for about 80% of the total glucosinolates regardless of treatment. Tissue N was negatively correlated and tissue S and S to N ratio were positively correlated with total glucosinolate concentration, although all correlations were generally weak (r2 < 0.5). Total glucosinolates and glucobrassicin concentrations were maximized in both cultivars at the low N and high S application rates. Except for sinigrin in one of the 2 years, all glucosinolates detected were higher in Vorox than in 'Grand Slam'. Based on these results, glucosinolates in cabbage can be manipulated by cultural management practices as well as genetics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1493-1498
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2005


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