Citrus fruits, which are cultivated worldwide, have been recognized as some of the most high-consumption fruits in terms of energy, nutrients and health supplements. What is more, a number of these fruits have been used as traditional medicinal herbs to cure diseases in several Asian countries. Numerous studies have focused on Citrus secondary metabolites as well as bioactivities and have been intended to develop new chemotherapeutic or complementary medicine in recent decades. Citrus-derived secondary metabolites, including flavonoids, alkaloids, limonoids, coumarins, carotenoids, phenolic acids and essential oils, are of vital importance to human health due to their active properties. These characteristics include anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, as well as cardiovascular protective effects, neuroprotective effects, etc. This review summarizes the global distribution and taxonomy, numerous secondary metabolites and bioactivities of Citrus fruits to provide a reference for further study. Flavonoids as characteristic bioactive metabolites in Citrus fruits are mainly introduced.
Keywords: Bioactivities; Citrus fruits; Flavonoids; Human health; Secondary metabolites.