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Papers of the Week

2021 Feb 03




Sisymbrium Officinale (the Singers’ Plant) as an Ingredient: Analysis of Somatosensory Active Volatile Isothiocyanates in Model Food and Drinks.


De Nisi P, Borgonovo G, Tramontana S, Grassi S, Picozzi C, Scaglioni L, Mazzini S, Mangieri N, Bassoli A
Foods. 2021 Feb 03; 10(2).
PMID: 33546123.


(L.) Scop. (hedge mustard) is a wild common plant of the Brassicaceae family. It is known as "the singers' plant" for its traditional use in treating aphonia and vocal disability. The plant is rich in glucosinolates and isothiocyanates; the latter has been demonstrated to be a strong agonist in vitro of the Transient Receptor Potential Ankirine 1 (TRPA1) channel, which is involved in the somatosensory perception of pungency as well as in the nociception pathway of inflammatory pain. Volatile ITCs are released by the enzymatic or chemical hydrolysis of GLSs (glucosinolates) during sample crushing and/or by the mastication of fresh plant tissues when the plant is used as an ingredient. Some functional food and drink model preparations have been realised: honey enriched with seeds and flowers, infusions, cold drink (voice drink), artisanal beer, and a fermented tea (kombucha). Using SPME-GCMS chromatography, we analysed samples of the plant and of the food preparations adopting conditions that simulate the release of isothiocyanates (ITCs) during oral assumption. Two active compounds, iso-propylisothiocyanate and 2-butylisothiocyanate, have been assayed. The concentration of ITCs varies according to temperature, pH, grinding conditions, and different plant organs used. Kombucha-type fermentation seems to eliminate the ITCs, whereas they are retained in beer. The ITCs' concentration is higher when entire seeds and flowers are used.