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The pharmacological activities of prunes: The dried plums



Prunes are dried plums and consumed as food or medicine. Prunus domestica, Prunus salicina and Prunus americana are the important sources of prunes. Prunes are highly reputed in folk medical practices for nutritive, laxative and digestive properties and used for treatment of hypertension, diabetes, jaundice and fever. The recent studies showed that it has antioxidant, anticancer, antihyperglycemic, anti-hyperlipidemic, antihypertensive, anti-osteoporosis, laxative and hepatoprotective activities. Prunes contain dietary fibers, carbohydrates, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidant polyphenolic phytochemicals. Therapeutically active constituents and their possible mechanisms of actions are also been discussed.
Journal of Medicinal Plants Research Vol. 5(9), pp. 1508-1511, 4 May, 2011
Available online at
ISSN 1996-0875 ©2011 Academic Journals
The pharmacological activities of prunes: The dried
Qaiser Jabeen* and Naveed Aslam
Department of Pharmacy, the Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan.
Accepted 28 February, 2011
Prunes are dried plums and consumed as food or medicine. Prunus domestica, Prunus salicina and
Prunus americana are the important sources of prunes. Prunes are highly reputed in folk medical
practices for nutritive, laxative and digestive properties and used for treatment of hypertension,
diabetes, jaundice and fever. The recent studies showed that it has antioxidant, anticancer, anti-
hyperglycemic, anti-hyperlipidemic, antihypertensive, anti-osteoporosis, laxative and hepatoprotective
activities. Prunes contain dietary fibers, carbohydrates, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidant
polyphenolic phytochemicals. Therapeutically active constituents and their possible mechanisms of
actions are also been discussed.
Key words: Prunes, antioxidant, anticancer, antihypertensive, antihyperlipedimeic, osteoporosis, laxative,
Prunes are considered as healthy food because of lower
fat contents and contain considerable amount of
important nutrients like carbohydrates, vitamins and
minerals. Prunes and prune products also possess
medicinal value. Consumption of fruits, like plums and
prunes, is useful in blood circulation problems, measles,
digestive problems (Li, 2008), in prevention of cancer,
diabetes and obesity. Prunes are high in potassium
contents and have beneficial effects in cardiovascular
problems. Prunes increase the motility of the
gastrointestinal tract and have been found to possess
laxative activity. A 100 g serving of prunes fulfill, daily
requirement of boron. Prune consumption does not
immediately raise blood glucose, therefore, beneficial in
diabetes (Stacewicz et al., 2001).
Regular consumption of amygdalin containing fruits
was considered to have anticancer action (Ferrel, 1998).
Recent studies demonstrated that the cancer preventing
actions of prunes are associated with its polyphenolic
contents and antioxidant activity, which have inhibitory
effects on mutagenesis and carcinogenesis.
*Corresponding author. E-mail:, Tel: +92-300-2540023.
Botanical origin: Prunus domestica L. (European Plum),
Prunus salicina L. (Japanese Plum), Prunus Americana
Marsh. (American plum, Marshall’s large yellow sweet
Family: Rosaceae
English name: Plum
Urdu name: Alu-Bukhara, Alucha
Part used: Fruits (Plum or Prunes)
Fleshy fruits of several species of genus Prunus,
including that of P. domestica, P. salicina, P. americana,
are called Plum. More than 100 species of plum are
cultivated in the temperate zones throughout the world
since prehistoric times. Commonly, dried plums are
called prunes. China is leading plum producing country
in the world. Plants are small to medium sized trees.
Leaves are ovate or elliptical with acute or obtuse tips,
short petioles and crenulate margins. Flowers are small,
white and have longer pedicels, mostly born in umbel-like
clusters of 2-3 individuals on short spurs, and solitary or
2-3 in axils of 1 year old wood. Fruits are fleshy, oval or
round to conical having glaceous surface. Fruits come in
variety of colors and sizes.
Prunes are significant source of major nutrients, including
carbohydrates, several amino acids, vitamin A, vitamin B-
complex, vitamin K, potassium, calcium, magnesium,
zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, boron and dietary
fibers. Prunes fiber consist mainly of soluble fraction
(80%) including pectin, hemicellulose, cellulose and
lignins. Drying process increases the total dietary fibers
(Siddiq, 2006). Sorbitol, glucose, fructose and sucrose
are major simple sugars. Malic acid is the predominant
acid, although citric, tartaric, benzoic and boric acid were
also identified in prunes. Difference in flavors depends
upon degree of sourness rather than the degree of
sweetness (Jhones and Bulls, 1929). Several volatile
components have been isolated from P. domestica fruit,
out of which benzaldehyde, linalool, ethyl nonanoate,
methyl cinnamate and γ-decalactone are found to
contribute in plum aroma (Ismail and Williams, 1981).
Drying causes disappearance of some volatile compo-
nents and formation of new componds. Three major
compounds identified in dry prunes were benzaldehyde,
2-furancarboxyaldehyde and ethyl cinnamate (Sabarez et
al., 2000).
Plums and prunes are rich source of polyphenolic
phytochemicals. Total phenolic contents of different plum
cultivars have been reported between 282-922 mg/100 g
of fruit (Siddiq, 2006). Phenolic compounds of prunes
consist mainly of chlorogenic acid, neochlorogenic acid,
caffeic acid, coumaric acid, rutin (Donovan et al., 1998)
and proanthocyanidin (Kimura et al., 2008). Drying
process increases the antioxidant activity due to non-
enzymatic reaction products, called melanodins. In
prunes, polyphenols contribution in antioxidant activity of
prunes is only about 23% of the total antioxidant activity
(Madrau et al., 2010).
In Unani medicine, prunes are regarded as nutrient,
refrigerant, demulcent, cooling, digestive, laxative and
tonic. Prunes have been used for centuries in sweet
dishes, sauces, rice-meat dish (Biryani). It is used for
treatment of acid dyspepsia, nausea, vomiting, to lessen
thirst, in bilious fevers and headache. Being somewhat
mucilaginous, it cools stomach. Prunes are used in
general debility (Usmanghani et al., 1997). Prunes are
soaked in a glass of water overnight and the resulting
juice is given to patients in morning for the treatment of
hypertension (Usmanghani et al., 1986), jaundice and
hepatitis (Abbasi et al., 2009). P. domestica is used for
lowering blood glucose in Elazing Central District of
Turkey (Cakilcioglu and Turkoglu, 2009). It is also
indicated for the treatment of dysmenorrhea, leucorrhea,
miscarriage, asthma and fever (Duke et al., 2002).
Jabeen and Aslam 1509
Antioxidant activity
Total phenolic contents and total antioxidant capacity of
prunes were found higher than other dry fruits including
dates, figs and raisins (Wu et al., 2004). Prune extract
and juice inhibit oxidation of isolated human LDL
(Donovan et al., 1998). Caffeoylquinic acids, hydorxy
cinnamic acids, protocatechuic acid, coumarins, lignins
and flavanoids present in prunes have high antioxidant
activity (Kayano et al., 2004). Methanol elute of water
soluble fraction of ethanolic extract of prunes was found
to have a novel compound, 4-amino-4-carboxychrome-2-
one, which was found to have synergistic action on
antioxidant activity of caffeoylquinic acid isomers (Kayano
et al., 2002). Neochlorogenic acid and chlorogenic acid
isomers in prunes have superoxide anion scavenging
activity and inhibit methyl linoleate oxidation (Nakatani et
al., 2000). Two liginin glucosides have been isolated from
P. domestica fruit which have good oxygen radical
absorbance activity (Kikuzaki et al., 2004).
Anticancer activity
Ethanol fraction of prune juice has been shown to
suppress proliferation and induce apoptotic changes in
human colon carcinoma cells (Fujii et al., 2006).
Protocatechuic acid in prunes and other fruits has been
demonstrated to prevent epithelial cells malignancy in
different tissues. The anticancer effects of prunes are
probably associated with antioxidant activity of its
constituents. Interference with metabolic activation of
carcinogens or direct blocking of carcinogen binding with
DNA molecules resulting in mutation and neoplastic
transformation may also be involved in anticancer activity
of protocatechuic acid (Tanaka et al., 2011).
Antihyperlipidemic activity
Daily ingestion of prunes has shown to decrease plasma
and LDL cholesterol in mild hypercholesterolemic
persons (Tinker et al., 1991). Prune fibers decreased
plasma and liver cholesterol in hyperlipidemic rats (Tinker
et al., 1994). In vitro binding of bile acids with prunes was
compared with other fruits and cholestyramine. Total
polysacchrides of prunes were found to process 50% bile
acid binding capacity of cholestyramine (Kahlon and
Smith, 2007). Dried prunes supplementation at level of
9.5% prevents athereosclerosis in apoprotein-E deficient
mouse in high cholesterol diet (Gallaher and Gallaher,
2009). Therefore, daily ingestion of prunes may be
helpful in atherosclerosis amelioration through lipid and
lipoprotein lowering actions.
1510 J. Med. Plant. Res.
Blood pressure lowering activity
Caffeic acid decreased reactive oxygen species in
angiotensin-II treated vascular smooth muscle cells
obtained from stroke prone spontaneously hypertensive
rats (SHRSP) and chronic administration of prunes
extract hampered elevation of blood pressure in SHRSP
(Neigeshi et al., 2007).
Use in age-related cognitive deficits
Regular supplementation of plum juice in rats is effective
in mitigating age- related cognitive deficits, which may be
attributed to antioxidant activity of plum juice (Shukitt et
al., 2009).
Anxiolytic activity
In mouse models of anxiety, chlorogenic acid, in a dose
of 20 mg/Kg has anxiolytic effect, which may be mediated
through activation of benzodiazepine receptors (Bouayed
et al., 2007). Recently, oxidative stress in brain is impli-
cated in pathogenesis of anxiety disorders (Bouayed et
al., 2009). Prunes may be beneficial in anxiety disorders
due to chlorogenic acid contents and ability to improve in
antioxidant defense.
Good for bones
Prunes are very effective in preventing or reversing bone
loss (Hooshmand and Arjmandi, 2009). Prunes are rich
source of selenium and boron. Both of these trace
elements modulate bone metabolism and preserve bone
mineral density. Prunes prevented ovariectomy induced
loss in bone mineral density in female rats. Inclusion of
prunes in diet reversed bone loss in ovarian hormone
deficient rats, in orchidectomized male rats (Bu et al.,
2007) and in adult and aged male mice (Halloran et al.,
2010). Prunes and its polyphenols decrease bone
resorption by suppressing nuclear receptor activator for
NF-κB ligand (RANKL) signaling by osteoblasts, which in-
turn down-regulates osteoclast differentiation and activity.
The prunes polyphenols also increase osteoblast activity
and function in-vitro, which was associated with up-
regulation of key transcription factors and growth factors
involved in osteoblast differentiation and collagen
crosslinking respectively (Smith, 2007) and direct inhibi-
tion of osteoclastogenesis by down-regulating nuclear
factor for activated T cells (NFATc1) and inflammatory
mediators (Bu et al., 2008). In postmenopausal women,
prunes supplementation increased bone formation and
decreased resoprtion, thus decreasing risk of
osteoporotic fractures (Arjmandi, 2001; Hooshmand and
Arjmandi, 2009).
Useful in constipation and liver disorders
The prunes were reported to contain oxyphenisatin,
which has been shown to act as contact laxative (Ritchie,
1972). High sorbitol contents and cholorogenic acids also
contribute to laxative effect of prunes (Stacewicz et al.,
2001). In a randomized, double blind crossover study,
260 g /day consumption of yoghurt containing galacto-
oligosaccharides (12 g/day), prunes (12 g/day) and
linseed (12 g/day) reduced the severity of constipation in
elderly subjects with mild constipation (Sairanen et al.,
2007). Daily ingestion of prune juice by human volunteers
was found to have mild laxative effect (Piirainenad et al.,
2007) and significant reduction in serum activities of
alanine transaminase and serum alkaline phosphatase
(Ahmed at al., 2010). Therefore, prune juice may be
useful as mild laxative and beneficial in hepatic diseases.
The eatable portion of prunes is non-toxic. Seeds contain
cyanogenic glycosides; amygdalin and prunasin, which
upon hydrolysis, release toxic hydrogen cyanide. These
glycosides are not hydrolyzed and remain confined in
seeds until cell are not damaged. Consumption of
improperly processed food containing plum or prunes can
cause cyanide poisoning (Vetter, 2000).
There is no report of adverse effects. Many people may
have avoided consuming dried plum due to reported
laxative effects. But studies demonstrated that
consumption of prunes in daily diet up to 100 g by men
and postmenopausal women did not significantly change
their bowel habits (Tinker et al., 1991; Lucas et al., 2004).
Prunes have been found pharmacologically active as
antioxidant, anticancer, anxiolytic, mild laxative and
antihyperlipedimic. Their efficacy in treatment and
prevention of hypercholesterolemia and osteoporosis has
been documented in clinical studies. It exerts positive
effects on cardiovascular parameters possibly through
anti-oxidant activities, high fiber and potassium contents.
In conclusion, prunes have wide range of nutritional and
medicinal uses and daily consumption can be beneficial
in the treatment or prevention of different ailments.
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... It is mentioned above that dried plums are used in frying and boiled dishes. During the frying and boiling, many mutagenic/ carcinogenic substances are occurred that harm human health (Jabeen & Aslam, 2011). Prunes contain many antioxidant polyphenols (Bobasa et al., 2020) and it has been reported that foods high in polyphenols reduce oxidation (Cengiz et al., 2020;Yusufoğlu et al., 2020). ...
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Abstract This review uses an interdisciplinary perspective to examine the eating habits of the Ottomans through the information conveyed in the works of western travelers who came to the Ottoman territory. Travel books, which are the primary sources for Ottoman history, were used to analyze the food consumption habits in Ottoman culinary culture. The impressions of western travelers were taken directly and displayed in quotation marks. Then, within the knowledge of the literature, the Ottoman food culture was interpreted in the context of nutrition and dietetics. During the period of the Ottoman Empire we can see that honey was used as a sweetener in desserts, that barley and rye were preferred in bread making, and half-baked bread, which was traditionally consumed in the Ottoman food culture, was enjoyed. According to the travels books, vegetables, grains, meat, dairy products, and olive oil were among the most consumed foods. The Ottoman Empire incorporated different factors and brought together a unique new culture. As seen, The Ottoman cuisine, which incorporated food from different cultures, owes its wealth to the innovations it developed within its social dynamics. According to travel books, healthy food and nutrition were at the forefront in the Ottoman period.
... It contains a large number of different polyphenolic compounds (Donovan et al., 1998;Miletić et al., 2014) that contribute to the increase in antioxidant activity (Pellegrini et al., 2006;Ouchemoukh et al., 2012;Keservani et al., 2016). The importance of antioxidants is reflected in terminating the effect of free radicals thus diminishing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer (Vinson et al., 2005;Jabeen and Aslam, 2011). However, beside these outstanding characteristics in terms of nutritive composition, consumers of prune demand high quality of this product in respect of organoleptic indicators such as appearance and taste. ...
... Due to many important phytochemicals, this fruit has an effective antioxidant activity (21). In addition to this, different extracts of P. domestica show many important activities namely antibacterial, anticancer, antihyperlipidemic, blood pressure-lowering activity, anxiolytic activity and antidiabetic activity (2,22,23). ...
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Prunus domestica L. is a member of the Rosaceae family that shows many biological activities including antioxidant, antimicrobial, antihaemolytic, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective activity and many other activities. In the current study, we evaluated nutritive value, phytochemical screening, total phenolic content and antioxidant activity by DPPH and FRAP method for the different extracts obtained by successive soxhlet extraction using the different solvents based on their polarity. Results show that it is a good source of energy. Phytochemical screening revealed the presence of many secondary metabolites which include alkaloids, carbohydrates, glycosides, protein, steroids and terpenoids, fixed oils and fat as well as phenolic compounds. The highest total phenolic content was found in the ethyl acetate fraction. Highest antioxidant activity by DPPH method is reported in ethyl acetate fraction (IC50 =1837.399±0.377µg/ml) while the ferric reducing antioxidant power was maximum for diethyl ether (56.032±0.985µM/ml FRAP value = 0.325±0.002).
... Nutritionally, prune is a useful fruit and a rich source of carbohydrates, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, dietary fibers, and phenolic compounds (Donovan et al., 1998;Jones and Bullis, 1929;Kimura et al., 2008;SIDDIQ, 2006). It is a fruit with antioxidant, anticancer, antihyperglycemic, anti-hyperlipidemic, antihypertensive, anti-osteoporosis, and laxative activities (Jabeen and Aslam, 2011). ...
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One of the goals of producing and developing new products is to provide desirable features to the target community, followed by promoting marketability and gaining more market share in similar products basket. In this study, in order to investigate the effect of sensory characteristics of black plum marmalade on its acceptance, sample data with 180 observations and discriminant analysis method were used. The sensory properties that were evaluated in this product included color, flavor, firmness, adhesiveness and spreadability. Discriminant analysis classified 89% of observations correctly in the acceptance and non-acceptance classes. Accordingly, the characteristics of color, consistency, flavor, hardness and spreadability had a positive and significant effect on the acceptance of the product by the respondents and adhesiveness had a negative and significant effect on the acceptance of the product. Also, based on these results, the largest contribution in discriminating the acceptance and non-acceptance of this product is related to the spreadability, flavor and hardness, respectively. Therefore, in order to attract customers and market effectiveness, it is suggested to pay special attention to these characteristics in the production of black plum marmalade.
... Separate studies of the laxative properties of the dried plums show that the laxative effect is realized due to the content of oxyphenisatin, which directly interacts with receptors on the enterocyte membrane and acts as a contact laxative. The high content of sorbitol and chlorogenic acid in the dried plums also contributes to the realization of the laxative effect by increasing the osmotic pressure (Attaluri et al. 2010;Jabeen 2011). ...
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The experimental work focused on the study of the pharmacological properties of extracts obtained from the Prunus domestica fruits to create a prospective laxative drug with moderate hepatoprotective properties. Prunus domestica fruit extracts have been shown to have a pronounced laxative and moderate hepatoprotective effect. Extract containing fibers at a dose of 200 mg/kg was selected as the most active extract for laxative and hepatoprotective activity among all extracts from the Prunus domestica fruits. It was conventionally named “Prunophyte”. Studies of the specific pharmacological action of “Prunophyte” extract in a model of comorbid functional constipation on the background of combined alcoholic liver disease in rats showed that “Prunophyte” at a dose of 200 mg/kg had positive dynamics in the treatment of constipation on the background of subacute liver disease. In some cases it exceeded the effects of combination therapy with drugs “Silibor” at a dose of 25 mg/kg and “Senadexin” at a dose of 14 mg/kg. “Prunophyte” extract, in contrast to “Senodexin”, did not cause signs of diarrhea in animals, which may be a beneficial feature of this drug in subsequent clinical use. This drug has shown that it can be a promising alternative to a one-time complex treatment with herbal laxatives and hepatoprotectors, which will avoid polypragmatism in the treatment of comorbid conditions in gastroenterology associated with functional constipation and liver dysfunction.
... Its rich amount of natural phenolic phytochemicals such as phenolic acids, flavonoids and anthocyanin which constitute valuable components of our diet both in terms of dietary and medicinal values [13 &29]. A previous report suggests that prune extract and juice inhibit oxidation of isolated human low density lipoprotein [40]. ...
... Its rich amount of natural phenolic phytochemicals such as phenolic acids, flavonoids and anthocyanin which constitute valuable components of our diet both in terms of dietary and medicinal values [13 &29]. A previous report suggests that prune extract and juice inhibit oxidation of isolated human low density lipoprotein [40]. ...
... As a product, prune has been used in human diet since the Middle Ages as it contains significant amounts of vital nutrients, such as carbohydrates, especially sugars, vitamins and mineral matters (Keservani et al., 2016). Due to its nutritional composition, laxative and digestive properties, prune is highly reputed in traditional medical practice for the treatment of hypertension, diabetes, jaundice and fever (Jabeen and Aslam, 2011). What is more, prunes contain significant amounts of natural phenolic phytochemicals, such as flavonoids, phenolic acids, anthocyanins, and other phenols that act as natural antioxidants, for which prunes nowadays assume an increasing importance in the nutrition (Morabbi Najafabad and Jamei, 2014). ...
... These substances possess such types of biological activity as the anti-inflammatory, vasoconstrictor, diuretic activity, and have the antioxidant effect. The current research has shown its multi-spectrum pharmacological benefits for the treatment of various chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia [17][18][19]. Among the phenolic compounds of plum, hydroxycinnamic acids were found by the methods of TLC, HPLC, paper chromatography [4,20]. ...
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Objective: To determine the effect of daily consumption of 100 g of dried plum (Primus domestica L.) on the bowel habits of postmenopausal women. Method: Fifty-eight postmenopausal women not on hormone replacement therapy and free of any gastrointestinal problems or eating disorders were randomly assigned to receive either 100 g of dried plum or 75 g of dried apples daily for 3 months. During the first week of treatment and each month thereafter, the participants were asked to fill out a validated questionnaire regarding their weekly bowel habits. The parameters used to assess bowel habits included stool frequency, estimated fecal bulk, consistency of stool, strain and pain during bowel movement, and feeling of constipation. Results: In both treatment regimens, there were no significant differences between the 4 different time points for any of the parameters used to assess bowel function. Conclusion: Many postmenopausal women can take advantage of all the health benefits that accompany prune consumption, such as improving blood lipid profile and reducing bone loss, without negative gastrointestinal side effects.
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A natural phenolic compound, protocatechuic acid (3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid), is present in many edible and medicinal plants. Recent studies, including our animal experiments, indicate that this simple phenolic acid could be protective against the development of epithelial malignancy in different tissues and cardiovascular diseases as well. The mechanism of the action is mostly associated with antioxidant activity, including inhibition of generation as well as scavenging of free radicals and upregulating antioxidant enzymes. The influence on Phases I and II of the metabolism of certain carcinogens and, perhaps, direct blocking of specific binding sites of ultimate carcinogens with DNA molecule, thus preventing adduct formation that may result in mutations and neoplastic transformation, also account for its cancer protective action. However, other biological aspects of the chemopreventive activity of protocatechuic acid are not fully studied. They include influence on the activity of inducible isoenzyme of cyclooxygenase and nitric oxide synthase, cell cycle–regulating proteins, or inflammatory cytokines, which are involved in oncogenesis. In view of its reported biological properties and relative safety, protocatechuic acid is a potential cancer chemopreventive product.
Prunes are believed to have a laxative effect. Our aim was to study whether prune juice affects gastrointestinal function in adults with certain gastrointestinal symptoms. The study comprised 54 volunteers (13 men, 41 women) whose mean age was 44 years (range, 24-82 years). The study began with a 1-week baseline period, followed by a 2-week prune juice period, and finally a 1-week follow-up period. During the prune juice period, the subjects drank, twice a day, 125 mL of the test prune juice, which consisted of plum juice concentrate, prune puree, water, and fructose. During the 4 study weeks the subjects kept a daily record of fecal frequency, difficulty of defecation, stool consistency, and gastrointestinal symptoms. The subjects reported fewer days with difficulty in defecation during the prune juice period (combined first and second weeks) than during the baseline week (1.3 vs 1.7 days, P = .02). This effect appeared to continue into the follow-up week. The mean frequency of days with flatulence was higher during the prune juice period than during the baseline week (2.1 vs 1.4 days, P = .02). Regularly ingested prune juice had a mild laxative effect in adults with certain gastrointestinal symptoms. However, it also increased flatulence. Prune juice may offer an alternative to laxatives, at least, in cases of mild constipation.
Prunes, obtained by drying certain cultivars of plums, have greater antioxidant activity than most other fruits and vegetables. Recent research has attributed only a minor part of this antioxidant activity to phenolic compounds, and it has been hypothesized that most of the antioxidant activity is caused by unknown or new products created during processing. In this study, the relationship between the antioxidant properties of prunes and their phenolic compound and brown products content has been investigated. The latter is a result of the nonenzymatic browning reaction. The results show that most of the antioxidant activity of fresh plums is caused by the polyphenolic fraction. The prunes, obtained by drying at 60 and 85C, despite the significant decrease in polyphenols, showed an increase in antioxidant activity. This was mostly because of the nonenzymatic browning reaction products, mostly low molecular weight compounds, whereas polyphenols contributed only to 23% of the total value. Results of this research could have direct or indirect applications. First of all, results give evidence of the best drying conditions related to the nutritional profile of the prunes. Results related to the antioxidant activity of melanoidin compounds can, moreover, stimulate medical researcher to test if melanoidin extracts are really in vivo or ex vivo antioxidants, and in that case, producers of functional foods or food ingredients can be encouraged to try to isolate and characterize the compounds responsible for increased antioxidant activity.
Phenolic compounds in foods have been associated with reduced incidences of heart disease by acting as antioxidants for low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Commercial prune and prune juice extracts (Prunus domestica cv. French) were analyzed for phenolics by reversed phase HPLC with diode array detection and tested for the ability to inhibit the Cu 2+ -catalyzed oxidation of human LDL. The mean concentrations of phenolics were 1840 mg/kg, 1397 mg/kg, and 441 mg/L in pitted prunes, extra large prunes with pits, and prune juice, respectively. Hydroxycinnamates, especially neochlorogenic acid, and chlorogenic acid predominated, and these compounds, as well as the prune and prune juice extracts, inhibited the oxidation of LDL. The pitted prune extract inhibited LDL oxidation by 24, 82, and 98% at 5, 10, and 20 μM gallic acid equivalents (GAE). The prune juice extract inhibited LDL oxidation by 3, 62, and 97% at 5, 10, and 20 μM GAE. These data indicate that prunes and prune juice may provide a source of dietary antioxidants.
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Vacuum steam distillation followed by solvent extraction, chemical separation and examination of the final extract by gas chromatography, and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, enabled 73 volatile components to be identified in juices prepared from plums of the cultivar Victoria. Of these, odour evaluation of the gas chromato-graphic exit as the components were being separated, indicated that benzaldehyde, linalool, ethyl nonanoate, methyl cinnamate and γ-decalactone contribute to ‚plum’ aroma. Milling the plums, as opposed to merely removing the stones prior to enzyming and expressing the juice, increased the concentrations of hexanol and cis 3-hexenol and also produced hexanal and trans 2-hexenal, these four components giving rise to the characteristic ‚green’ aroma of juice prepared in this way.
Dried plums and their polyphenols have been shown to suppress bone resorption by downregulating receptor activator NF-κB ligand (RANKL). Due to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of these compounds, this study was designed to investigate whether dried plum polyphenols exert additional, more direct effects on osteoclasts and their precursors. RAW 264.7 macrophages were used as a model to study osteoclast precursors and osteoclast differentiation and activity. Under inflammatory conditions induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS), polyphenols extracted from dried plum (10, 20, and 30μg/mL) downregulated osteoclast precursor cyclooxygenase expression and nitric oxide (NO) by inhibiting inducible NO synthase. NO and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α were also suppressed in the presence of RANKL during osteoclastogenesis by the polyphenols. Increased TNF-α production in response to oxidative stress, but not LPS, was decreased over time. As expected, LPS and H2O2 significantly increased the number of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase-positive cells by 127% and 30%, respectively. Dried plum polyphenols decreased osteoclast differentiation under normal as well as inflammatory and oxidative stress conditions, coincident with the suppression of the transcription factor, nuclear factor for activated T cells (NFATc1). These inhibitory effects on osteoclastogenesis were confirmed in primary bone marrow cultures. Resorption pit formation was decreased to a similar extent as osteoclast differentiation, suggesting that dried plum polyphenols primarily affect osteoclast differentiation as opposed to activity. Our data demonstrate that dried plum polyphenols directly inhibit osteoclastogenesis, leading to a decrease in osteoclast activity, by downregulating NFATc1 and inflammatory mediators.
The in vitro binding of bile acids by blueberries (Vaccinium spp.), plums (Prunus spp.), prunes (Prunus spp.), strawberries (Fragaria X ananassa), cherries (Malpighia punicifolia) cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) and apples (Malus sylvestris) was determined using a mixture of bile acids secreted in human bile at a duodenal physiological pH of 6.3. Six treatments and two blank incubations were conducted to testing various fresh raw fruits on an equal dry matter basis. Considering cholestyramine (bile acid binding, cholesterol lowering drug) as 100% bound, the relative in vitro bile acid binding on dry matter (DM), total dietary fiber (TDF) and total polysaccharides (PCH) basis was for blueberries 7%, 47% and 25%; plums 6%, 53% and 50%; prunes 5%, 50% and 14%; strawberries 5%, 23% and 15%; cherries 5%, 37% and 5%; cranberries 4%, 12% and 7%; and apple 1%, 7% and 5%, respectively. Bile acid binding on DM basis for blueberries was significantly (P ⩽ 0.05) higher than all the fruits tested. The bile acid binding for plums was similar to that for prunes and strawberries and significantly higher than cherries, cranberries and apples. Binding values for cherries and cranberries were significantly higher than those for apples. These results point to the relative health promoting potential of blueberries > plums = prunes = strawberries = cherries = cranberries > apples as indicated by their bile acid binding on DM basis. The variability in bile acid binding between the fruits tested maybe related to their phytonutrients (antioxidants, polyphenols, hydroxycinnamic acids, flavonoids, anthocyanins, flavonols, proanthocyanidins, catechins), structure, hydrophobicity of undigested fractions, anionic or cationic nature of the metabolites produced during digestion or their interaction with active binding sites. Inclusion of blueberries, plums, prunes, strawberries, cherries and cranberries in our daily diet as health promoting fruits should be encouraged. Animal studies are planned to validate in vitro bile acid binding of fruits observed herein to their potential of atherosclerosis amelioration (lipid and lipoprotein lowering) and cancer prevention (excretion of toxic metabolites).
1. Prunes are recognized as a health food. They contain large amounts of phenolics and show high anti-oxidant activity. In this study, both hydroxyl radicals and superoxide anion were scavenged by prune extract in electron spin resonance (ESR) analysis. 2. In angiotensin II challenged vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) from stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRSP), the reactive oxygen species (ROS) level was decreased in caffeic acid-treated cells compared with the control. 3. After 5 weeks of prune extract treatment, the elevation of blood pressure in the prune extract-treated SHRSP was suppressed in comparison with the control group. 4. Our findings suggest that prune extract may contribute to the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases.