Pomegranates 561 Chemistry

Pomegranates (Punica granatum) are an excellent dietary source of polyphenolic antioxidants. In a comparative study, pomegranates were shown to contain 11.33 mmol total antioxidants/100g vs. 8.23 mmol antioxidants/100 g in wild bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), 2.42 mmol antioxidants/100 g for grapes (Vitis vinifera) and 0.34 mmol antioxidants/100 g for tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum).17 In North America, most pomegranate consumption occurs from drinking pomegranate juice. The total polyphenol concentration in pomegranate juice is higher than that of green tea and red wine, giving pomegranate juice a threefold higher antioxidant capacity.15 Commercial pomegranate juice contains over 20 different polyphenols: anthocyanins (delphinidin, cyanidin, and pelargonidin and their glycosides), hydrolyzable tannins (ellagitannins, gallotannins, punicalagin, punicalin), and phenolics (ellagic acid, gallic acid);1516 other than those named, most have not yet been identified. Other components of note are water soluble poly- and oligo-saccharides (containing mainly glucose, sucrose, xylose, and galactose compounds), organic acids (citric, malic), and seed oil lipids (punicic acid). Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is found in pomegranate fruits but is destroyed during pasteurization and therefore is not present in pasteurized pomegranate juice.

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