Grapes are rich in primary and secondary metabolites. Among the secondary metabolites, polyphenolic compounds are the most abundant in grape berries. Besides their important impacts on grape and wine quality, this class of compounds has beneficial effects on human health. Due to their antioxidant activity, polyphenols and phenolic acids can act as anti-inflammatory and anticancerogenic agents, and can modulate the immune system. In grape berries, polyphenols and phenolic acids can be located in the pericarp and seeds, but distribution differs considerably among these tissues. Although some classes of polyphenols and phenolic acids are under strict genetic control, the final content is highly influenced by environmental factors, such as climate, soil, vineyard, and management. This review aims to present the main classes of polyphenolic compounds and phenolic acids in different berry tissues and grape varieties and special emphasis on their beneficial effect on human health.
Keywords: grapes; human health; phenolic acids; polyphenolic compounds; secondary metabolites.