Red fleshed apple as novel anthocyanin-biofortified food: Effect of food processing on the phenolic composition and bioavailability assessment of anthocyanins in humans



Research group


National Plan (MINECO, Spain)

Funding body


Type of action

Project reference


The worldwide high prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) requires lifestyle changes and new dietary prevention strategies based on the increased intake of foods rich in bioactive compounds, as they are considered as key mediators in the improvement of CVD risk factors. However, the diet followed by the majority of people does not appear to be sufficient to guarantee an adequate intake of flavonoids. Specifically, the intake of anthocyanins phenol-class has been inversely associated with the risk of CVD.
The main aim of this project is to assess the potential of new red-fleshed apples biofortified in anthocyanins (produced by traditional breeding methods, no genetically modified) as an approach to increase the consumption of these bioactive compounds and to improve cardiometabolic risk (CMR) factors (LDLc as the main biomarker).
In the first steps, a complete phenolic characterization of various red-fleshed apples has been done and the best variety and food processing in terms of anthocyanin content have been selected. Then, the chronic and acute effects of the selected product will be assessed in individuals with high cardiometabolic risk compared to a common apple (control) similar in other phenolic and fiber composition without anthocyanins, allowing to directly link anthocyanins with the observed effects. The sustained anthocyanin supplementation through the red-fleshed apple will be also compared with and an equivalent anthocyanin extract to study the effect of the food matrix. The mechanism of action of anthocyanins will be studied by signalling pathways and by functional proteomic provided through the analysis of human plasma samples and target tissues (aorta and heart) in hypercholesterolemic Wistar rats. Data obtained will significantly contribute to provide robust scientific data regarding the potential health effects and mechanism of action of anthocyanins in the improvement of the CMR factors.