COCOA (Theobroma cacao) Polyphenol-Rich Extract Increases the Chronological Lifespan of Saccharomyces cerevisiae

J Frailty Aging. 2016;5(3):186-90.


BACKGROUND: Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a model organism with conserved aging pathways. Yeast chronological lifespan experiments mimic the processes involved in human non-dividing tissues, such as the nervous system or skeletal muscle, and can speed up the search for biomolecules with potential anti-aging effects before proceeding to animal studies. OBJECTIVE: To test the effectiveness of a cocoa polyphenol-rich extract (CPE) in expanding the S. cerevisiae chronological lifespan in two conditions: in the stationary phase reached after glucose depletion and under severe caloric restriction. MEASUREMENTS: Using a high-throughput method, wild-type S. cerevisiae and its mitochondrial manganese-dependent superoxide dismutase null mutant (sod2Δ) were cultured in synthetic complete dextrose medium. After 2 days, 0, 5 and 20 mg/ml of CPE were added, and viability was measured throughout the stationary phase. The effects of the major components of CPE were also evaluated. To determine yeast lifespan under severe caloric restriction conditions, cultures were washed with water 24 h after the addition of 0 and 20 mg/ml of CPE, and viability was followed over time. RESULTS : CPE increased the chronological lifespan of S. cerevisiae during the stationary phase in a dose-dependent manner. A similar increase was also observed in (sod2Δ). None of the major CPE components (theobromine, caffeine, maltodextrin, (-)-epicatechin, (+)-catechin and procyanidin B2) was able to increase the yeast lifespan. CPE further increased the yeast lifespan under severe caloric restriction. CONCLUSION: CPE increases the chronological lifespan of S. cerevisiae through a SOD2-independent mechanism. The extract also extends yeast lifespan under severe caloric restriction conditions. The high-throughput assay used makes it possible to simply and rapidly test the efficacy of a large number of compounds on yeast aging, requiring only small amounts, and is thus a convenient screening assay to accelerate the search for biomolecules with potential anti-aging effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cacao*
  • Caloric Restriction
  • Longevity*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Polyphenols / pharmacology*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / drug effects*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / genetics


  • Plant Extracts
  • Polyphenols
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • superoxide dismutase 2