Flavan-3-ols and proanthocyanidins play a key role in the health beneficial effects of cocoa. Here, we developed a new reversed phased high-performance liquid chromatography-electrochemical detection (HPLC-ECD) method for the analysis of flavan-3-ols and proanthocyanidins of degree of polymerization (DP) 2-7. We used this method to examine the effect of alkalization on polyphenol composition of cocoa powder. Treatment of cocoa powder with NaOH (final pH 8.0) at 92 °C for up to 1 h increased catechin content by 40%, but reduced epicatechin and proanthocyanidins by 23-66%. Proanthocyanidin loss could be modeled using a two-phase exponential decay model (R2 > 0.7 for epicatchin and proanthocyanidins of odd DP). Alkalization resulted in a significant color change and 20% loss of total polyphenols. The present work demonstrates the first use of HPLC-ECD for the detection of proanthocyanidins up to DP 7 and provides an initial predictive model for the effect of alkali treatment on cocoa polyphenols.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)