Fig fruit has been a typical component in the health-promoting Mediterranean diet for millennia. To study the potential health-promoting constituents of fig fruits, six commercial fig varieties differing in color (black, red, yellow, and green) were analyzed for total polyphenols, total flavonoids, antioxidant capacity, and amount and profile of anthocyanins. Using reversed-phase liquid chromatography (RP-LC), various concentrations of anthocyanins but a similar profile was found in all varieties studied. Hydrolysis revealed cyanidin as the major aglycon. Proton and carbon NMR confirmed cyanidin-3-O-rhamnoglucoside (cyanidin-3-O-rutinoside; C3R) as the main anthocyanin in all fruits. Color appearance of fig extract correlated well with total polyphenols, flavonoids, anthocyanins, and antioxidant capacity. Extracts of darker varieties showed higher contents of phytochemicals compared to lighter colored varieties. Fruit skins contributed most of the above phytochemicals and antioxidant activity compared to the fruit pulp. Antioxidant capacity correlated well with the amounts of polyphenols and anthocyanins (R2 = 0.985 and 0.992, respectively). In the dark-colored Mission and the red Brown-Turkey varieties, the anthocyanin fraction contributed 36 and 28% of the total antioxidant capacity, respectively. C3R contributed 92% of the total antioxidant capacity of the anthocyanin fraction. Fruits of the Mission variety contained the highest levels of polyphenols, flavonoids, and anthocyanins and exhibited the highest antioxidant capacity.
- Antioxidant capacity
- Common fig (Ficus carica L.)