Comparison of the relative recovery of polyphenolics in two fruit extracts from a model of degradation during digestion and metabolism

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Aug;51(8):939-45. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200700087.


To simulate the effects of digestion and metabolism on the survival of different polyphenolic compounds, extracts of blueberry and apple were deglycosylated by acid hydrolysis, followed by enzymic glucuronidation under neutral conditions, yielding approximately 5% overall recovery of polyphenolics. The major polyphenolics before and after the treatment were compared, to estimate which species are likely to be present in the intestinal lumen, undegraded and available for absorption, after consumption of the fruit. Whereas blueberry extract consisted predominantly of anthocyanins, epicatechin and caffeoyl quinate esters, the major components of the treated extract were quercetin glucuronides and (unglucuronidated) caffeoyl quinates, with only traces of anthocyanidin derivatives. In apple extract, compositional changes were less marked, but caffeoyl quinates, procyanidins and quercetin were enriched at the expense of caffeic acid, epicatechin and catechin. Hydrophobic compounds like phloretin and quercetin were extensively glucuronidated, whereas caffeic acid and caffeoyl quinate were not. These results suggest that the major polyphenolic components of a fruit are not necessarily the most important contributors to any health benefits because the polyphenolic composition in the intestinal lumen and consequently, in the circulation, may be considerably different.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anthocyanins / analysis
  • Blueberry Plants / chemistry
  • Chlorogenic Acid / analysis
  • Chlorogenic Acid / metabolism
  • Digestion
  • Flavonoids / analysis*
  • Flavonoids / metabolism*
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Glucuronides / metabolism
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Hydrolysis
  • Malus / chemistry
  • Models, Biological
  • Phenols / analysis*
  • Phenols / metabolism*
  • Phloretin / analysis
  • Phloretin / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Polyphenols
  • Quercetin / analysis
  • Quercetin / metabolism
  • Species Specificity


  • Anthocyanins
  • Flavonoids
  • Glucuronides
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polyphenols
  • Chlorogenic Acid
  • Quercetin
  • Phloretin