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J Agric Food Chem. 1999 Aug;47(8):3173-80.

Isolation and characterization of the lignans, isolariciresinol and pinoresinol, in flaxseed meal.

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  • 1Food Composition Laboratory, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Maryland 20705, USA.


The isolation and characterization of the lignans, isolariciresinol, pinoresinol, secoisolariciresinol, and matairesinol, potent phytoestrogens, from flaxseed meal are described. This is the first report of isolariciresinol and pinoresinol being detected in a food. The extraction method selected combined the removal of the lignan glycosides from the plant matrix with an alcoholic solvent system, followed by acid hydrolysis to release the aglycons. A reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography with diode array detection system was used for initial separation and detection of the lignans at 280 nm in the acid-hydrolyzed methanolic extract. Lignan trimethylsilyl ether derivatives were characterized by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Secoisolariciresinol is the major lignan in flaxseed; isolariciresinol, pinoresinol, and matairesinol were identified as minor lignan components.

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