May 10, 2019


Anthocyanins are the largest group of water-soluble pigments in the plant kingdom and belong to the family of compounds known as flavonoids that are synthesized by plants as part of their secondary metabolism. Based on their chemical characteristics, flavonoids are divided into different subclasses: flavonols, flavanols, anthocyanidins, flavanones, flavones and isoflavones.

Anthocyanins are colored water-soluble pigments belonging to the phenolic group. They occur primarily as glycosides or acylglycosides of their respective aglycone anthocyanidins. These pigments, naturally present in fruits and vegetables, provide color and promote health benefits to consumers due to their antioxidant capacity.

The different anthocyanin conjugates absorb light at about 500 nm and are responsible for the red, blue and purple color of fruits and vegetables.

Among the anthocyanin pigments, cyanidin-3-glucoside is the major anthocyanin found in most of the plants. The colored anthocyanin pigments have been traditionally used as a natural food colorant. The color and stability of these pigments are influenced by pH, light, temperature, and structure.

Anthocyanins have important functions in plant physiology. They are believed to play a major role in both pollination and seed dispersal. Anthocyanins have been shown to be strong antioxidants and may exert a wide range of health benefits through antioxidant or other mechanisms. Several studies have shown that anthocyanins display a wide range of biological activities including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-carcinogenic activities.

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