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Molecules. 2019 Mar 20;24(6). pii: E1109. doi: 10.3390/molecules24061109.

Triterpene Acid and Phenolics from Ancient Apples of Friuli Venezia Giulia as Nutraceutical Ingredients: LC-MS Study and In Vitro Activities.

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Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and Environment (DAFNAE), Agripolis Campus, University of Padova, 35020 Legnaro (PD), Italy.
Department of Biology, Science Faculty, Selcuk University, 42250 Konya, Turkey.
School of Pharmacy, Via Sant'Agostino 1, University of Camerino, I-62032 Camerino, Italy.
Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and Environment (DAFNAE), Agripolis Campus, University of Padova, 35020 Legnaro (PD), Italy.
Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, University of Padova, Via Francesco Marzolo, 5, 35131 Padova (PD), Italy.


Triterpene acid and phenolic constituents from nine ancient varieties of apple (Malus domestica) fruits cultivated in Fanna, Friuli Venezia Giulia region, northeast Italy, were analyzed and compared with four commercial apples ('Golden Delicious', 'Red Delicious', 'Granny Smith' and 'Royal Gala'). Total phenolic and flavonoid contents were measured by spectrophotometric assays. The quali-quantitative fingerprint of secondary metabolites including triterpene acid was obtained by LC-DAD-(ESI)-MS and LC-(APCI)-MS, respectively. Based on the two LC-MS datasets, multivariate analysis was used to compare the composition of ancient fruit varieties with those of four commercial apples. Significant differences related mainly to the pattern of triterpene acids were found. Pomolic, euscaphyc, maslinic and ursolic acids are the most abundant triterpene in ancient varieties pulps and peels, while ursolic and oleanolic acids were prevalent in the commercial fruits. Also, the content of the phenolic compounds phloretin-2-O-xyloglucoside and quercetin-3-O-arabinoside was greater in ancient apple varieties. The antioxidant (radical scavenging, reducing power, metal chelating and phosphomolybdenum assays) and enzyme inhibitory effects (against cholinesterase, tyrosinase, amylase and glucosidase) of the samples were investigated in vitro. Antioxidant assays showed that the peels were more active than pulps. However, all the samples exhibited similar enzyme inhibitory effects. Ancient Friuli Venezia Giulia apple cultivars can be a source of chlorogenic acid and various triterpene acids, which are known for their potential anti-inflammatory activity and beneficial effects on lipid and glucose metabolism. Our results make these ancient varieties suitable for the development of new nutraceutical ingredients.


LC-MS; ancient apple; chlorogenic acid; enzyme inhibition; polyphenols; triterpene acids

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