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Identification and quantification of carotenoids from sarsaparilla (Smilax aspera L.) berries.

AuthorsDelgado-Pelayo, Raúl ; Hornero-Méndez, Dámaso
Smilax aspera
Issue Date20-Jun-2010
CitationInternational Congress on Pigments in Food (6th. 2010. Budapest, Hungría)
AbstractThe sarsaparilla (Smilax aspera L.) is an evergreen perennial climbing plant of the Liliaceae family and typical of the Mediterranean basin. The plant grows and climbs from a rhizome and forms many extended branches - up to 15m in length - and numerous leaves around shrubs and trees. Stems are semi-woody and possess several prickles. The shiny leaves are generally heart-shaped with a few, tiny, translucent prickles along the margin. Flowers are associated as branched clusters. The fruits are juicy berries, which are initially green, turning red through ripening, sometimes becoming black. The berries are rather soft, having a spherical shape, 7-9mm across, and each holding a maximum of 3 seeds. The popularity of this plant is due to the ancient medicinal uses of the rhizomes, having depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, stimulant and tonic properties (1, 2), so that they have been used as an ingredient in soft drinks. These therapeutic actions are mainly attributed to the high content in steroidal saponins (3). Most of the attention has been given to the rhizomes of the Smilax genus, and no extensive works have been carried out on the chemical characterisation of the fruits. Recently the anthocyanin composition of S. aspera berries has been described as responsible of the fruit colour (4). However some preliminary studies in our laboratory have demonstrated that carotenoid pigments are also involved in the red coloration of these berries, and to our knowledge, the carotenoid composition of S. aspera berries has never been study and described. Therefore, the present work was aimed to isolate, identify and quantify the carotenoid pigments occurring in the S. aspera berries (5).
Appears in Collections:(IG) Comunicaciones congresos
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