Cyanidin-3-O-glucoside (C3G), the predominant anthocyanin in haskap berries (Lonicera caerulea L.), possesses antioxidant and many other biological activities. This study investigated the impact of temperature and pH on the degradation of the C3G-rich haskap fraction. The effect of the thermal degradation products on the viability of hepatocellular carcinoma HepG2 and breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells was also studied in vitro. Using column chromatography, the C3G-rich fraction was isolated from acetone extracts of haskap berries. The C3G stability in these fractions was studied under elevated temperatures (70 °C and 90 °C) at three different pH values (2.5, 4, and 7) by monitoring the concentration of C3G and its major degradation products, protocatechuic acid (PCA) and phloroglucinaldehyde (PGA), using liquid chromatography mass spectrometry. Significant degradation of C3G was observed at elevated temperatures and at neutral pH. Conversely, the PCA and PGA concentration increased at higher pH and temperature. Similar to C3G, neutral pH also has a prominent effect on the degradation of PGA, which is further accelerated by heating. The C3G-rich fraction exhibited dose-dependent inhibitory effects on cell metabolic activity when the HepG2 cells were exposed for 48 h. Interestingly, PGA but not PCA exhibited cytotoxic effects against both MDA-MB-231 and HepG2 cells. The results suggest that thermal food processing of haskap could influence its biological properties due to the degradation of C3G.
Keywords: anthocyanin; antioxidant; cancer; cell viability; food processing; phenolic compounds.