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