Adam Sauve

Will with-in row spacing affect the sweetness of Brussels sprouts?

Brussels sprouts have become popular, but some people do not like its flavor. This is from the presence of glucosinolate which masks any sweetness from their sugar content. Macleod and Pikk (1978) showed that within-row spacing of 60cm resulted in lower levels of isothiocyanate (glucosinolate) levels than those grown in 30cm. However, they did not study how within row spacing affects Brussels sprouts overall flavor and sweetness. My overall objective was to determine if how far apart plants are spaced affects the overall flavor, sweetness and bitterness, as well as glucosinolate and sugar contents. For this objective a variety of Brussels sprouts called ‘Jade Cross E’ was planted at the St. Paul Experiment Plots. Analyses were conducted looking at light quality, sweetness and bitterness through a Sensory evaluation, and glucosinolate/ sugar contents. I found that the ratio of Red/ Far-red and PAR was affected by within-row spacing, showing that the plants were exposed to different light levels at the different within-row spacings. The within-row spacing treatments affected some glucosinolate levels, while having no effect on sweetness, bitterness, or sugar content of the Brussels sprouts. While there were small chemical differences in individual glucosinolates, these differences may not have been enough to affect the sprouts’ flavor.  The sweetness and bitterness scores were low (<5 on a 20-point scale), suggesting that ‘Jade Cross E’ is a mild-flavored variety.

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