Caption: Apical and differentiating meristem of a broccoli flower bud (Brassica oleracea italica). Shown here is the tip of a small broccoli flower bud with actively dividing apical meristem tissue along the leading edges of the bud (top of image). Apical meristems are the completely undifferentiated (indeterminate) meristems in a plant. At the meristem summit there is a small group of slowly dividing cells which is commonly called the central zone. Cells of this zone have a stem cell function and are essential for meristem maintenance. A short distance away the meristem cells begin to differentiate and stomata can be seen developing in to epidermal cells that contain stomata (bottom of image). Broccoli is one of several vegetables in the species Brassica oleracea, in the family Brassicaceae (Cabbage Family). Broccoli possesses numerous fleshy flower heads (usually green in color) arranged in a tree-like fashion on branches growing from a thick stalk. Broccoli most closely resembles cauliflower, which is a different cultivar group of the same species, but broccoli is green rather than white. The Brassica oleracea species is the same species as cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli and collard greens, though they are of different cultivar groups. Broccoli is high in vitamin C and dietary fiber and contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties including, diindolylmethane and selenium. The 3,3'-Diindolylmethane found in broccoli is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer activity. Broccoli also contains the compound glucoraphanin, which can be processed into an anticancer compound sulforaphane, though the benefits of broccoli are greatly reduced if the vegetable is boiled more than ten minutes. A high intake of broccoli has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Broccoli leaf is also edible and contains far more beta carotene than the florets.
Magnification*: x100
Type: SEM
Copyright 2008 Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.
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