To assess the effects of digestion on the functional components of walnut pigment and their bioactivities, we developed an in vitro model simulating gastro-intestinal digestion. Results showed an increase in the contents of flavonoids and conjugated phenols (with retention rates higher than 100%) in husk pigment after digestion. The lowest of the 2,2'-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) radical scavenging abilities was reached in the group with the minimum flavonoid content after digestion. Close correlation was observed between free phenol content and total reducing power, as the reducing power among different groups of husk pigment was in consistent with free phenols changes. The inhibitory effect of walnut pigment on α-amylase with/without digestion enzyme was similar. However, shell pigment showed improved inhibitory effect on α-glucosidase activity, with an increased inhibitory rate of 5.42%. In general, the antioxidant activity and hypoglycemic ability of walnut pigment were prone to chemical and enzymatic changes during simulated digestion, which were also related to the alteration of flavonoids and phenols.
Keywords: antidiabetics; in vitro simulated digestion; oxidation resistance; walnut pigment.