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Acetone Enhances the Direct Analysis of Procyanidin- and Prodelphinidin-Based Condensed Tannins in Lotus Species by the Butanol–HCl–Iron Assay

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journal contribution
posted on 19.02.2016, 16:51 by John H. Grabber, Wayne E. Zeller, Irene Mueller-Harvey
The butanol–HCl spectrophotometric assay is widely used for quantifying extractable and insoluble condensed tannins (CT, syn. proanthocyanidins) in foods, feeds, and foliage of herbaceous and woody plants, but the method underestimates total CT content when applied directly to plant material. To improve CT quantitation, we tested various cosolvents with butanol–HCl and found that acetone increased anthocyanidin yields from two forage Lotus species having contrasting procyanidin and prodelphinidin compositions. A butanol–HCl–iron assay run with 50% (v/v) acetone gave linear responses with Lotus CT standards and increased estimates of total CT in Lotus herbage and leaves by up to 3.2-fold over the conventional method run without acetone. The use of thiolysis to determine the purity of CT standards further improved quantitation. Gel-state 13C and 1H–13C HSQC NMR spectra of insoluble residues collected after butanol–HCl assays revealed that acetone increased anthocyanidin yields by facilitating complete solubilization of CT from tissue.