Bioaccessibility of pistachio polyphenols, xanthophylls, and tocopherols during simulated human digestion

Nutrition. 2013 Jan;29(1):338-44. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2012.08.004.


Objective: The bioaccessibility of bioactives from pistachios has not been previously evaluated. In the present study we quantified the release of polyphenols, xanthophylls (lutein), and tocopherols from pistachios (raw pistachios, roasted salted pistachios, and muffins made with raw pistachios) during simulated human digestion.

Methods: A dynamic gastric model of digestion that provides a realistic and predictive simulation of the physical and chemical processing and accurately mimics the residence time and the luminal environment within the human stomach was used for the digestion studies.

Results: More than 90% of the polyphenols were released in the gastric compartment, with virtually total release in the duodenal phase. No significant differences were observed between raw shelled and roasted salted pistachio. The presence of a food matrix (muffin) decreased the bioaccessibility of protocatechuic acid (78%) and luteolin (36%). Almost 100% bioaccessibility of lutein and tocopherols was found after duodenal digestion, with no difference among the three samples.

Conclusion: The rapid release of the assayed bioactives in the stomach maximizes the potential for absorption in the duodenum and contributes to the beneficial relation between pistachio consumption and health-related outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Availability
  • Carotenoids / chemistry
  • Carotenoids / pharmacokinetics
  • Digestion / physiology*
  • Food Handling
  • Gastric Mucosa / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption / physiology
  • Lutein / chemistry
  • Lutein / pharmacokinetics
  • Models, Biological
  • Pistacia* / chemistry
  • Polyphenols / chemistry
  • Polyphenols / pharmacokinetics*
  • Tocopherols / chemistry
  • Tocopherols / pharmacokinetics*
  • Xanthophylls / chemistry
  • Xanthophylls / pharmacokinetics*


  • Polyphenols
  • Xanthophylls
  • Carotenoids
  • Tocopherols
  • Lutein