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Food Chem. 2013 Jun 1;138(2-3):1421-30. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.10.125. Epub 2012 Nov 10.

Piceatannol, a potent bioactive stilbene, as major phenolic component in Rhodomyrtus tomentosa.

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Institut des Sciences de la Vie, UCLouvain, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.


The sim fruit (Rhodomyrtus tomentosa) has long been used in folk medicine to treat diarrhoea, dysentery, and to boost the immune system. The purpose of this work was to determine its phenolic profile and to evaluate the changes of content during maturation, as well as the variations induced by environmental conditions. Using HPLC-ESI-HR-MS, 19 phenolic compounds (PCs) were tentatively characterised and included stilbenes and ellagitannins as major components, followed by anthocyanins, flavonols, and gallic acid. PCs were then further quantified by HPLC-DAD. Piceatannol, a promising health-promoting stilbene component, was the major PC in the fruit with a concentration of 2.3mg/g dry weight at full maturity stage. This concentration is 1000-2000 times higher than that of red grapes, a major source of stilbene in the human diet. During maturation, the contents in piceatannol and other stilbenes, ellagitannins, and flavonols decreased while the anthocyanin content increased. Shade-grown sim fruits showed significantly higher piceatannol levels than sun-exposed fruits. Taken together, these findings highlight the potential of sim, an under-utilised plant species from South-East Asia, as a source of health-promoting fruits.

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