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J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Apr 20;53(8):2859-66.

Analysis of anthocyanins in rat intestinal contents--impact of anthocyanin chemical structure on fecal excretion.

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  • 1Department of Food Science, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.


Absorption of dietary anthocyanins is limited; however, fecal anthocyanin excretion has been rarely studied. We developed a method for extraction and analysis of fecal anthocyanins. Aqueous methanol (60%) maximized extraction efficiency (approximately 88%). Severe anthocyanin degradation (monitored by high-performance liquid chromatography) was observed in feces stored at -18 degrees C; therefore, storage time should be minimized and lower temperatures used. Fecal and cecal content samples were collected from 32 rats receiving either chokeberry, bilberry, grape-enriched (3.85 g monomeric anthocyanin per kg diet), or control diet for 14 weeks. Fecal anthocyanin concentrations were significantly different among groups (0.7/1.8/2.0 g/kg wet feces, chokeberry/bilberry/grape). Anthocyanin profiles of cecal contents and feces were similar. Losses in the intestinal contents were high for anthocyanin glucosides, moderate for galactosides, and negligible for arabinosides or xylosides. Acylation or diglucosylation enhanced anthocyanin stability. High anthocyanin concentration in the fecal content may favor anthocyanin absorption into the colon epithelial cells, resulting in potential health benefits.

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