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Anthocyanins in Fruits, Vegetables and Grains.

As many readers will know, anthocyanins are the largest group of water-soluble natural pigments with colours ranging from pink through scarlet, magenta and violet to purple and blue in many fruits. It is known that these pigments can exist in many different structural forms and related physico-chemical phenomena have a profound effect on their actual colour and indeed stability. Anthocyanins are particularly characteristic of the flowering plants which, in the main, provide the major source of our food crops. Thus, the two major groups involved are the Vitaceae that include grapes and the Rosaceae that include apple, pear, cherry, plum, peach and sloe, blackberry and raspberry, strawberry and quince. Other families of plants that contain pigmented fruits are Ericaceae that include blueberry and cranberry, Saxifragaceae which include black and red currants and the Caprifoliceae for elderberry.

We all know that colour is a great determinant for choice; take for instance radish or red cabbage and coloured cereals add to our fare. Moving on to processed foods, traditionally these are often coloured both to embellish and indeed restore the colour removed or reduced by processing procedures. In

recent times great efforts have been made to replace synthetic dyes by natural colorants and the oldest anthocyanin extracted for this purpose comes from grape pomace but many other sources are now available. In fact, man has ingested anthocyanins for all time as he was no doubt first attracted to the brightly coloured berries that made up his diet. All the available evidence seems to suggest that anthocyanins are non toxic, non mutagenic and have therapeutic properties. Recent work has shown that anthocyanins could have many important positive physiological effects on the body and many pharmaceutical products now contain anthocyanins.

Research has identified at least 270 individual structures and the object of this text is to assemble the large amount of information that has been published over the years on this whole topic.

The 12 chapters carry titles; Introduction; Pome fruits; Stone fruits; Small fruits; Tropical fruits; Grapes; Other fruits; Cereals; Legumes; Roots, tubers and bulbs; Cole crops; and Other crops. Within these chapters a large number of sources of anthocyanins are examined. Sources like Chokeberry, Mountain ash berry, Japanese plum, Cherry plum, Rabbiteye blueberry, Bog whortleberry, Date, Mango, Crowberry, Rosehip, Buckwheat, Millet, Fababean, Chicory, Ginseng, Taro, Turnip, Eggplant, Perilla, Rhubarb and Tamarind are discussed along with many others. Because of the way the book has been designed the authors have provided a huge number of references to further reading.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Food Trade Press Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Food Trade Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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