Red Chicory (Cichorium intybus) Extract Rich in Anthocyanins: Chemical Stability, Antioxidant Activity, and Antiproliferative Activity In Vitro.J Food Sci 2019; 84(5):990-1001JF
Red chicory leaves are appreciated sensorially and their constituents contain bioactive properties. The objectives of this study were as follows: to use an experimental design to extract anthocyanins from red chicory in aqueous solution at pH 2.5; to determine the stability of the extracts in relation to temperature and pH; and to evaluate the antioxidant activity and in vitro cytotoxic effect of the lyophilized and purified extracts. The best extraction conditions for the bioactive compounds from red chicory were a temperature of 64.2 °C for 25 min; the anthocyanin content was 73.53 ± 0.13 mg per 100 g fresh weight basis sample. The EC50 (Half maximal effective concentration) value for the antioxidant activity assay in relation to DPPH (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) with optimized extract was 0.363, which corresponds to a concentration of 39.171 µmol/L of anthocyanins. The activation energy for the degradation reaction of the anthocyanins from the red chicory extract was 84.88 kJ/mol. The optimized extract, which was rich in anthocyanins, showed chemical and biological antioxidant activity (protection against erythrocyte hemolysis) and inhibited lipid peroxidation in vitro. The Cichorium intybus L. extracts interfered on the levels of reactive oxygen species generation and the crude extract did not present procarcinogenic effect. PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Red chicory is basically consumed as a part of traditional dishes worldwide. Here, we developed a process to extract and purify the anthocyanins from Cichorium intybus leaves and test the extracts in terms of the chemical composition, thermal stability, antioxidant activity, and antiproliferative effects. The anthocyanin-rich extract presented antioxidant activity in chemical and biological assays and low cytotoxicity and cytoprotective effects in relation to HepG2, HCT8, and Caco-2 cell lines. Additionally, the red chicory extract protected human erythrocytes against hemolysis. This extract may be used as a natural colorant/antioxidant in foods.