Cancer-fighting ‘superbroccoli’ is launched

A new ‘superbroccoli’ that is claimed to offer enhanced heart disease and cancer-fighting properties has gone on sale.

The vegetable — called ‘Beneforte’ — looks the same as normal broccoli but contains boosted levels of glucoraphanin (three times the level of normal broccoli), which scientists say may protect the body against heart disease and some types of cancer.

Beneforte was developed by British scientists using conventional breeding techniques rather than genetic engineering. Work on the project began after a wild broccoli variety was discovered in 1983 with naturally raised levels of glucoraphanin. The nutrient is converted in the gut into the bioactive compound sulphoraphane, which circulates in the bloodstream.Compared with normal broccoli, eating Beneforte broccoli raises sulphoraphane levels two to four times.

Professor Richard Mithen, from the IFR, told The Guardian: “Our research has given new insights into the role of broccoli and other similar vegetables in promoting health, and has shown how this understanding can lead to the development of potentially more nutritious varieties of our familiar vegetables.

• Beneforte was launched in the US through a collaboration between Monsanto’s Vegetable Seed Division and California-based vegetable growers Apio Inc.