Salkowski's test is used to detect cholesterol in a chlorophyll sample, according to Academic Medical Dictionary, and is named after Ernst Leopold Salkowski, a German biochemist. This test is also used to detect the presence of a chemical compound called an indole in certain plant species.
Indoles are chemical substances found in dark green and root vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, turnips and rutabagas. Some types of indoles are used to treat cancer or fibromyalgia. According to WebMD, diets rich in these types of vegetables are associated with a decreased risk of developing certain types of cancer. Researchers suggest that an indole is only one type of substance in vegetables that may prevent cancer.
Researchers at Oregon State University suggest that chlorophyll can form tight bonds to cell-damaging substances, including tobacco or charred meat. Tight bonding of the chlorophyll helps to interfere with the absorption of these damaging substances and reduce the amount of carcinogen that reaches healthy tissue. Indoles found in vegetables also help counteract carcinogens by increasing the activity of detoxification enzymes.
The ability to detect indoles in plant species is important to future research of cancer prevention. According to WebMD, researchers are interested in a specific substance called indole-3-carbinol for the prevention of breast, cervical and colorectal cancer.