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Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2001 Oct;65(10):2121-30.

Structure of green pigment formed by the reaction of caffeic acid esters (or chlorogenic acid) with a primary amino compound.

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Department of Fermentation Science, Faculty of Applied Bioscience, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Japan.


A marked greening observed in some foods such as sweet potato, burdock, and others during food processing was shown to be due to green pigment formation by the condensation reaction of two molecules of chlorogenic acid or caffeic acid ester with one molecule of a primary amino compound under aeration in alkaline solution. Reduction of the green pigment by ascorbic acid or NaBH4 gave a yellow product, which readily turn green and then blue in air. The reduced and acetylated product of the green pigment was identified to be a novel trihydroxy benzacridine derivative, and the yellowish ethanol solution of this product immediately turned green upon addition of butyl amine or diluted alkali. Therefore, the green pigment was assumed to be an oxidized quinone type product of trihydroxy benzacridine. This identification of the structure was supported by the correspondence of the measured absorption spectra with those calculated by the molecular orbital method. A possible charge transfer complex between products of different oxidation steps in green solution was proposed.

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