Glucosinolates (GS) are metabolized to isothiocyanates that may enhance human healthspan by protecting against a variety of chronic diseases. Moringa oleifera, the drumstick tree, produces unique GS but little is known about GS variation within M. oleifera, and even less in the 12 other Moringa species, some of which are very rare. We assess leaf, seed, stem, and leaf gland exudate GS content of 12 of the 13 known Moringa species. We describe 2 previously unidentified GS as major components of 6 species, reporting on the presence of simple alkyl GS in 4 species, which are dominant in M. longituba. We document potent chemoprotective potential in 11 of 12 species, and measure the cytoprotective activity of 6 purified GS in several cell lines. Some of the unique GS rank with the most powerful known inducers of the phase 2 cytoprotective response. Although extracts of most species induced a robust phase 2 cytoprotective response in cultured cells, one was very low (M. longituba), and by far the highest was M. arborea, a very rare and poorly known species. Our results underscore the importance of Moringa as a chemoprotective resource and the need to survey and conserve its interspecific diversity.
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