Urinary excretion of phenolic acids in rats fed cranberry, blueberry, or black raspberry powder

J Agric Food Chem. 2014 May 7;62(18):3987-96. doi: 10.1021/jf403883r. Epub 2013 Nov 14.


Dietary polyphenolics can be converted into smaller phenolic acids (PA) by microorganisms in the colon and may contribute to health benefits associated with the parent polyphenolics. Urinary excretion of 18 PA and their conjugates was studied, using HPLC-MS/MS, in rats fed AIN93G-based diets containing 5% (dry weight basis) of either cranberry (CB), blueberry (BB), or black raspberry (BRB). Hippuric, 4-hydroxyphenylacetic, 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylacetic, and 4-hydroxybenzoic acids were excreted in greatest quantity in the urine over a 24 h period in all diets. Primary PA excreted in the berry diets were 4-hydroxycinnamic acid for CB; chlorogenic, ferulic, and 3,4-dihydroxycinnamic acids for BB; and 3-hydroxyphenylpropionic, 3-hydroxybenzoic, and 3-hydroxycinnamic acids for BRB. PA were present in conjugated form with cinnamic acid derivatives being 50-70% and phenylacetic acid derivatives conjugated <10%. Conjugated, and not just the free, PA are significant contributors to total urinary excretion.

Keywords: anthocyanin; black raspberry; blueberry; cranberry; phenolic acids; polyphenols; procyanidins; urine.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blueberry Plants / metabolism*
  • Fruit / metabolism*
  • Hydroxybenzoates / chemistry
  • Hydroxybenzoates / metabolism
  • Hydroxybenzoates / urine*
  • Male
  • Molecular Structure
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / urine*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Rosaceae / metabolism*
  • Vaccinium macrocarpon / metabolism*


  • Hydroxybenzoates
  • Plant Extracts
  • phenolic acid