Stinky beans as a hydrogen sulfide donor

9 Jun 2015 Food scientists discovered that stinky beans are a potent hydrogen sulfide donor that may be of benefit to heart health.

One thing in common for durian and stinky beans is their strong smells, which are due to organosulfides, organic compounds containing one or more sulfur atoms. A recent study has shown that organosulfides in fruits and vegetables may be good for heart health because they could be metabolized to form hydrogen sulfide, a molecule with rotten egg smell but also present in human body to maintain cardiovascular health.

A team led by Prof HUANG Dejian from the Food Science and Technology Programme in NUS discovered that organosulfide-rich stinky beans (see Figure) extracts exhibit potent hydrogen sulfide releasing capacity in a cell line model. For the first time, they developed a rapid method, based on a highly selective fluorescent probe for hydrogen sulfide developed by this team and quantified hydrogen sulfide donating capacity of common vegetables such as garlic and onion. They found that stinky bean extracts ranked number one in terms hydrogen sulfide releasing activity. Translating this property to evidence-based heart health benefits warrants further research on human clinical studies.The high throughput method we developed can be applied to rapidly quantify hydrogen sulfide donation capacity of dietary organosulfides and help establish structure and activity relationship and guide research on development of new type of functional foods made from flavorful vegetables with high amount of organosulfides. They also found that all the organosulfide-rich foods that are part of the daily diet of an individual residing in Singapore have their unique hydrogen sulfide releasing capacity.


Image show stinky bean, a vegetable commonly consumed in Singapore, topped the list.



Dong Liang, Chenhui Wang, Restituto Tocmo, Haixia Wu, Li-Wen Deng, and Dejian Huang. Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) releasing capacity of essential oils isolated from organosulphur rich fruits and vegetables. Journal of Functional Foods. 2015 (14), 634-640.