South Korean researchers have developed a new agricultural technology that significantly raises the level of anti-cancer benefits in kale.
A research team led by Dr. Roh Joo-won at the Convergence Research Center for Smart Farm Solutions has discovered a method to maximize isothiocyanates, which are a cancer fighting compound found in kale, the Korea Institute of Science and Technology said on Wednesday.
Isothiocyanates, which are found in green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, and cabbage, and produced when glucosinolates break up, are known for their cancer prevention effects.
The researchers attempted to determine the optimal environment for the cancer fighting compound to grow in volume in a greenhouse, in which the growing environment such as lighting and growth media can be artificially controlled for the best results.
During the study, the team learned the cancer fighting effect in kale grew by 2.4 times when the plant is grown with growth media mixed with salt and selenite, which is a variety of the mineral gypsum.
“Using greenhouses, we were able to discover a new cultivation technique that maximizes certain effects in plants. We hope the findings contribute to the standardization and a stable supply of raw material in the natural food and pharmaceutical industries,” Dr. Roh said.
The findings were published in the online international academic journal Scientific Reports.
Photo credit: Korea Institute of Science and Technology