Influence of Degree-of-Polymerization and Linkage on the Quantification of Proanthocyanidins using 4‑Dimethylaminocinnamaldehyde (DMAC) Assay


Proanthocyanidins (PACs) are naturally occurring flavonoids possessing health beneficial bioactivities. Their quantification often utilizes the 4-dimethylaminocinnamaldehyde (DMAC) spectrophotometric assay with the assumption that molar absorption coefficients (MACs) are similar across the various PAC species. To assess the validity of this assumption, individual PAC monomers and oligomers were examined for their absorbance response with DMAC. Our results have shown that PAC dimers and trimers with interflavan linkage variations exhibited differential absorbance response. Absence of A-type linkage between the terminal and second units in PAC molecule not only impacts absorbance intensity at 640 nm but also elicits a prominent secondary 440 nm absorbance peak. Cranberry (A-type) and cocoa (B-type) oligomeric PACs exhibited differential absorbance (MACs) relationship with degree-of-polymerization. Thus, PAC structural variations have considerable impact on the resulting MAC. The use of DMAC assay in PAC quantification, especially in comparing across specific oligomers and compositions, should not assume MACs are similar.

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