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Anthocyanins in Fruits, Vegetables, and Grains.
by G. Mazza and E. Minlati. 1993. Boca Raton, Florida. CRC Press. Hardcover. 384 pp. $207.00 ISBN 0-8493-0172-6.

If you don't have a background or interest in chemistry, this book may not be for you. However, if you are interested in a class of chemicals called the flavonoids, of which anthocyanins are a subset -- then read on. Flavonoids, particularly anthocyanins, are ubiquitous compounds found in many different species of plants. They are the pigments that give characteristic color and some of the biological properties to such common items as blueberries and red wine. This volume includes extensive tables of all the anthocyanins which have been identified to date, plus their chemotaxonomic distribution, i.e., where they are found in all major and minor fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes, oil seeds, herbs, species, and even minor crops, with special emphasis on the development and presence of anthocyanins in grapes. Aside from the obvious chemical structural information given in this volume, other relevant data include physiology, chemotaxonomy, inheritance, pharmacology, biotechnology , and the food technology aspects of anthocyanins.

Common herbs and foods that are discussed in this list include: hawthorn, cherries, olives, peaches, plums, blueberries, bilberries, cranberries, mangoes, elderberry, and fig, as well as carrots, celery, chicory, garlic, ginseng, onions, cruciferous vegetables, and a host of other miscellaneous plants from peanut and pistachio to tamarind and tomato.

Research in the last twenty years has indicated an increased role in cardiovascular health played by anthocyanins, as evidenced by research on bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) and hawthorn (Crataegus spp.).

Article copyright American Botanical Council.


By Mark Blumenthal