Fate of anthocyanins and antioxidant capacity in contents of the gastrointestinal tract of weanling pigs following black raspberry consumption

J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Jan 25;54(2):583-9. doi: 10.1021/jf052108+.


Many fruits are rich in anthocyanins (ACNs). ACNs have high antioxidant capacity, but because of their apparent low bioavailability, their possible roles in health promotion in vivo are still in question. The objectives of these studies were to determine the fate of ACNs within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the effect on the bioavailability and subsequent metabolism of ACNs. Five weanling pigs were fed freeze-dried black raspberry (Rubus occidentalis L.) powder by oral administration, which provided 1146.1 +/- 44.6 micromol TE of oxygen radical absorbance capacity with fluorescein as a fluorescent probe (ORAC(FL)) per kg and 50.5 +/- 3.7 mg per kg total ACNs. After 4 h, the pigs were sacrificed and the contents of five GI segments (duodenum, jejunum, ileum, cecum, and colon) were collected and analyzed for their total antioxidant capacity (TAC, measured as ORAC(FL)) and ACNs. The recoveries of TAC and total ACNs were 46.5 +/- 3.5 and 41.7 +/- 4.9%, respectively. Both total ACNs and TAC were recovered primarily in the ileum, cecum, and colon at 4 h after a meal. Cyanidin aglycone with different sugar moieties showed significant differences in their recovery within the GI tract with sambubiose > sambubiose-rhamnose = rutinose >> glucose. Recovery of ACNs within the GI tract was positively and linearly associated with urinary ACN recovery, which suggests that stability within the GI tract and not decreased absorption accounts for the increased recovery. The environment of different segments of the GI tract may determine the stability of individual ACNs. Complex ACNs containing di- or triglycosides disappeared more slowly in the GI tract than simple ACNs such as a monoglycoside. TAC and total ACNs remained high 4 h after feeding, which indicates that ACNs provide significant antioxidant protection in the environment of the gut epithelium.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthocyanins / analysis
  • Anthocyanins / pharmacokinetics*
  • Anthocyanins / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Biological Availability
  • Diet
  • Drug Stability
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism*
  • Rosaceae / chemistry*
  • Swine / metabolism*
  • Weaning


  • Anthocyanins
  • Antioxidants
  • Fluorescent Dyes