Reliably higher levels of healthy compound in Beneforté broccoli

Last updated: 7 Oct, 2014

Glucoraphanin has been shown to promote health by maintaining cardiovascular health and reducing the risk of cancer. An exciting new paper has been published in New Phytologist investigating the 'Genetic regulation of glucoraphanin accumulation in Beneforté® broccoli'.

Field trials and genetic studies have shown that a Beneforté broccoli reliably yields higher levels of a health-promoting compound, glucoraphanin. Beneforté was developed by crossing standard broccoli with a wild relative derived from Sicily.

Publicly funded research to develop Beneforté broccoli was led by two of the UK’s world-leading biological research institutes: the Institute of Food Research and the John Innes Centre, on the Norwich Research Park. They both receive strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Image of Broccoli

Broccoli has a bad reputation with children but (/because) it is good for you! Photo courtesy of


Glucoraphanin contains sulphur, which broccoli derives from the soil.  The latest study shows that Beneforté increases the amount of sulphur it takes up from the soil, and also channels more of it into glucoraphanin. Genetic analysis identified a single gene derived from the original wild relative that is responsible for both of these changes. In standard broccoli varieties, different soils can cause variation in glucoraphanin levels. These findings explain how Beneforté consistently delivers more glucoraphanin than ordinary broccoli.

Professor Richard Mithen of the Institute of Food Research is now leading ongoing studies to understand how glucoraphanin in Beneforté exerts its effects on human health, with particular focus on the cardiovascular system and prostate cancer.