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Bioactivity and Functionality of Anthocyanins: A Review

Author(s):

Dini C., Zaro M. J. and Viña S. Z.*   Pages 1 - 16 ( 16 )

Abstract:


Anthocyanins are flavonoid compounds imparting pink, red, blue, and purple colors to fruits, flowers, leaves, and some underground organs. These pigments play an important role in pollination and fruit and seed dispersal and they are related to the protection of plant tissues exposed to biotic and/or abiotic stress. Their consumption has been linked to diverse health benefits such as anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties, diminution of cardiovascular disease incidence, obesity control, and diabetes mitigation effects. Also, in vitro studies have revealed certain potential cancer chemopreventive activities of anthocyanins. Reactive oxygen species scavenging as well as metal chelating and direct binding to proteins have been associated with anthocyanin health effects. Recent studies have indicated that these compounds can modulate decisive signaling pathways and gene regulation. Their action contributes to vascular homeostasis and to angiogenesis, inflammation, and platelet aggregation control. Likewise, anthocyanins have been associated with the prevention of a peroxynitrite-mediated disorder in endothelial cells. The potential use of anthocyanins as colorants in food has been extensively analyzed since they are the main hydrosoluble plant pigments. However, their instability and the influence of concentration, pH, temperature, and the presence of other compounds (phenolic acids, metals) on color properties can limit anthocyanin use as food ingredients and additives. Encapsulation has been proposed as an alternative to reduce food-processing damage and to deliver these compounds to their target site in the human body. Likewise, chemical lipophilization of anthocyanins has been assayed to obtain modified compounds with higher lipophilicity, more suitable for lipid-rich matrices.

Keywords:

Phenolics, flavonoid pigments, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties, obesity control, encapsulation, esterification, food additives, functional foods.

Affiliation:

CIDCA, Dpto Quimica. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas UNLP, CIDCA, Dpto Quimica. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas UNLP, CIDCA, Dpto Quimica. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas UNLP



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