The flesh and peel of 19 pear cultivars (8 Tunisian dessert cultivars, 8 European dessert cultivars and 3 French perry pear cultivars) were studied for their phenolic composition. Phenolic compounds were identified by HPLC/ESI-MS2 and individually quantified by HPLC-DAD. Five classes of polyphenols were present: flavan-3-ols, phenolic acids, flavonols, anthocyanins and simple phenolics (hydroquinones). The total phenolic content ranged between 0.1g/kg Fresh Weight (FW) ('Conference' cultivar) and 8.6g/kg FW ('Plant De Blanc' cultivar) in the flesh and between 1.6g/kg FW ('William vert' cultivar) and 40.4g/kg FW ('Arbi Chiheb' cultivar) in the peel. Procyanidins, analyzed after thioacidolysis, were the main phenolic compounds in all pear cultivars either in the pulp or the peel, their constitutive units being essentially (-)-epicatechin. Tunisian dessert pears and French perry pears are richer in procyanidins with very high degree of polymerization (>100) for Tunisian pears. Peel procyanidins were less polymerized (from 4 to 20). Pear peel phenolic profile was more complex especially for Tunisian cultivars, with flavonols and in some cultivars anthocyanins.
Keywords: Flesh; Peel; Polyphenols; Pyrus communis L.; Thioacidolysis.
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