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J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Oct 8;56(19):9299-304. doi: 10.1021/jf801309n. Epub 2008 Sep 4.

Identification of Cabernet Sauvignon anthocyanin gut microflora metabolites.

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  • 1Department of Viticulture and Enology, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616, USA.


Anthocyanins are polyphenol antioxidants that have been shown to prevent many chronic diseases, including colon cancer. The compounds are largely metabolized by various enzymes and bacteria in the large intestine, and the health benefits of consuming foods rich in anthocyanins could be due mostly to the effects of these metabolites. In this study, the contents of the large intestine of pigs were used to model anthocyanin metabolism because pig and human intestinal microflora are similar. An anthocyanin extract from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes that contained delphinidin-3-glucoside, petunidin-3-glucoside, peonidin-3-glucoside, and malvidin-3-glucoside was employed. The extract was incubated anaerobically in the contents of the large intestine of freshly slaughtered pigs for 0, 0.5, and 6 h (final concentrations of 20.9, 28.2, 61.4, and 298.0 microM of the above anthocyanin compounds, respectively, at t = 0 h). Anthocyanins and their metabolites were measured by LC-ESI-MS. After 6 h, anthocyanins were no longer detected, and three metabolites were identified as 3-O-methylgallic acid, syringic acid, and 2,4,6-trihydroxybenzaldehyde. Results from this study suggest that consumption of Cabernet Sauvignon grape anthocyanins could lead to the formation of specific metabolites in the human gut, and it is possible that these metabolites offer the protective effect against colon cancer attributed to anthocyanin consumption.

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