Anthocyanins are naturally occuring pigments belonging to the group of flavonoids, a subclass of the polyphenol family. They are common components of the human diet, as they are present in many foods, fruits and vegetables, especially in berries and red wine. There were more studies conducted on effect of processing and storage on changes and stability of colors of anthocyanins in foods such as fruits and also for their use as natural colorants. Besides, the interest on anthocyanins is still growing also owing to their strong antioxidant activity against many chronic diseases, numerous studies about their medicinal, therapeutical and nutritional value were also conducted. There are pieces of evidence regarding the positive association of their intake with healthy biological effects. They act as antioxidants both in the foodstuffs in which they are found and in the organism that take in foods rich in anthocyanins. Many efforts have been carried out to develop new analytical techniques for identification and quantification of anthocyanins in plant materials, as well as their effects in vivo and in vitro. With this in mind, an overview to general considerations concerning (i) polyphenol and flavonoid history; (ii) chemical structure, color and intake of anthocyanins and (iii) sample preparation and extraction methods are presented in this chapter.
Part of the book: Phenolic Compounds
Anthocyanins are a family of natural pigments classified into the group of flavonoids, considered to be responsible for the color and taste of many fruits and vegetables, i.e. berries. Anthocyanins are common components of the human diet. Besides their interest as colorant because of their coloring properties, the study of anthocyanin compounds stems from their wide applicability in the prevention and even in the treatment of various human diseases. However, various aspects of the pharmacological roles of anthocyanins remain in the dark, having still several obstacles to the development of robust diets or prescribing lines on consumption of anthocyanins. The chemical structure of anthocyanins determines in large measure its capacity and efficacy as an antioxidant agent. In this study, the following aspects are reviewed: the antioxidant effect of anthocyanin pigments; the oxidative stress, the bioavailability after intake and biological aspects of anthocyanins, the method for measuring the antioxidant activity of anthocyanins, the relationship between structure and activity; and the influence of the anthocyanins in the antioxidant activity of wines. Finally an overview of some potential uses in food industry is attempted mainly focusing in the anthocyanin encapsulation topic. Attention has been paid to the more recent publications in the field.
Part of the book: Flavonoids