Comparison of isolated cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) proanthocyanidins to catechin and procyanidins A2 and B2 for use as standards in the 4-(dimethylamino)cinnamaldehyde assay

J Agric Food Chem. 2012 May 9;60(18):4578-85. doi: 10.1021/jf3007213. Epub 2012 Apr 30.


The 4-(dimethylamino)cinnamaldehyde (DMAC) assay is currently used to quantify proanthocyanidin (PAC) content in cranberry products. However, this method suffers from issues of accuracy and precision in the analysis and comparison of PAC levels across a broad range of cranberry products. Current use of procyanidin A2 as a standard leads to an underestimation of PACs content in certain cranberry products, especially those containing higher molecular weight PACs. To begin to address the issue of accuracy, a method for the production of a cranberry PAC standard, derived from an extraction of cranberry (c-PAC) press cake, was developed and evaluated. Use of the c-PAC standard to quantify PAC content in cranberry samples resulted in values that were 2.2 times higher than those determined by procyanidin A2. Increased accuracy is critical for estimating PAC content in relationship to research on authenticity, efficacy, and bioactivity, especially in designing clinical trials for determination of putative health benefits.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biflavonoids / analysis
  • Biflavonoids / chemistry
  • Calibration / standards
  • Catechin / analysis*
  • Catechin / chemistry
  • Cinnamates / chemistry*
  • Coloring Agents / chemistry*
  • Food Inspection / methods*
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Proanthocyanidins / analysis*
  • Proanthocyanidins / chemistry
  • Proanthocyanidins / isolation & purification
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Vaccinium macrocarpon / chemistry*


  • Biflavonoids
  • Cinnamates
  • Coloring Agents
  • Proanthocyanidins
  • procyanidin A2
  • procyanidin B2
  • Catechin
  • 4-dimethylaminocinnamaldehyde