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Anthocyanins and phenolic compounds of Mahonia aquifolium berries and their contributions to antioxidant activity

Mahonia aquifolium is an invasive woody evergreen shrub with sweet smelling bright yellow flowers that bloom in April. It has red-colored fruits that are often referred to as Oregon grapes. It is native to western North America, but it has spread to other areas of America, Australia and Europe and is used for landscaping and medicinal purposes. Extracts and ointments prepared from the root, stems and branches of Mahonia aquifolium are used to treat psoriasis. Mahonia is planted in parks and gardens as an ornamental plant in Turkey. Almost in all the humid soil in every region of Turkey, it is planted for ornamental purposes. There are many species of Mahonia plant, but the most grown and planted species in Turkey is Mahonia aquifolium.

Antioxidant activities, total phenolic and total monomeric anthocyanin contents were determined in mahonia berry extracts in different solvents. The methanol:water extract was purified to obtain anthocyanin and non-anthocyanin phenolic fractions, one at a time, and antioxidant activities of these fractions were also analyzed. Total phenolic and monomeric anthocyanin contents in mahonia berries were ranged from 1.30 (chloroform extract) to 1049.40 (methanol extract) mg GAE/100 g FW, and 40.68 (water extract) to 380.99 (ethanol extract) mg/100 g FW, respectively. The main phenolic and anthocyanin in mahonia berries were chlorogenic acid (373.12 mg/100 g FW), and cyanidin-3-O-glucoside (253.40 mg/100 g FW), respectively. The antioxidant activity of the anthocyanin fraction of the berries was approximately twofold higher than that of the phenolic fraction. The contribution of phenolic and anthocyanin compounds to the antioxidant activity of mahonia berries was greater than 83%. Phenolic compounds, especially anthocyanins, are the major antioxidant compounds found in mahonia berries.