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Phytochemistry. 2000 Sep;55(1):77-85.

Changes in grape seed polyphenols during fruit ripening.

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Department of Viticulture and Enology, University of California, Davis 95616-8749, USA.


The quantity and characterization of extracted flavan-3-ol monomers and procyanidins was determined in seeds from Vitis vinifera cv. Cabernet Sauvignon berries, over the course of ripening and at different levels of vine water status. The per berry extractive yield of all polyphenols decreased with maturity, and followed second-order kinetics. The flavan-3-ol monomers decreased most rapidly, followed by the procyanidin extension units and finally, the terminal units. The relative proportion of procyanidin extension units did not vary with maturity. During fruit ripening, the mean degree of polymerization of extracted procyanidins is unchanged when analyzed intact by HPLC, but decreases by thiolytic degradation. The proportion of extracted procyanidins resistant to acid catalyzed thiolysis increased with maturity. Changes in vine water status affected polyphenol amounts, indicating that cultural practices can be used to influence composition. Oxidation of the seed polyphenols during fruit ripening, could explain these observations.

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