Using Near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) to predict glucobrassicin concentrations in cabbage and brussels sprout leaf tissue

Ilse E. Renner, Vincent A. Fritz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Glucobrassicin (GBS) and its hydrolysis product indole-3-carbinol are important nutritional constituents implicated in cancer chemoprevention. Dietary consumption of vegetables sources of GBS, such as cabbage and Brussels sprouts, is linked to tumor suppression, carcinogen excretion, and cancer-risk reduction. High-performance liquid-chromatography (HPLC) is the current standard GBS identification method, and quantification is based on UV-light absorption in comparison to known standards or via mass spectrometry. These analytical techniques require expensive equipment, trained laboratory personnel, hazardous chemicals, and they are labor intensive. A rapid, nondestructive, inexpensive quantification method is needed to accelerate the adoption of GBS-enhancing production systems. Such an analytical method would allow producers to quantify the quality of their products and give plant breeders a high-throughput phenotyping tool to increase the scale of their breeding programs for high GBS-accumulating varieties. Near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) paired with partial least squares regression (PLSR) could be a useful tool to develop such a method. Results: Here we demonstrate that GBS concentrations of freeze-dried tissue from a wide variety of cabbage and Brussels sprouts can be predicted using partial least squares regression from NIRS data generated from wavelengths between 950 and 1650 nm. Cross-validation models had R2 = 0.75 with RPD = 2.3 for predicting μmol GBS·100 g-1 fresh weight and R2 = 0.80 with RPD = 2.4 for predicting μmol GBS·g-1 dry weight. Inspections of equation loadings suggest the molecular associations used in modeling may be due to first overtones from O-H stretching and/or N-H stretching of amines. Conclusions: A calibration model suitable for screening GBS concentration of freeze-dried leaf tissue using NIRS-generated data paired with PLSR can be created for cabbage and Brussels sprouts. Optimal NIRS wavelength ranges for calibration remain an open question.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number136
JournalPlant Methods
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 12 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).


  • Brassica oleracea
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Chemometrics
  • Chemoprevention
  • Glucobrassicin
  • Near-infrared spectroscopy
  • Partial least squares regression

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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