Chromatography Assesses the Nutritional Value of Mango
Aug 01 2019
Mangoes are a tropical stoned fruit that are native to India and South East Asia and have been cultivated for over 4000 years. Some people know it as the ‘king of fruits.’ There are hundreds of different cultivars and each has its own colour, size, taste and size.
But, not only are mangoes delicious to eat, they have many health benefits. A recent paper published in the journal Current Developments in Nutrition - Identification of Phenolic Metabolites in Human Plasma and Urine After Mango Consumption - has looked at how mangoes are metabolized in the human body to try and understand more about the nutritional benefits of eating a mango.
Mango - nutrient rich
Mangoes are a healthy food packed with natural goodness. They are low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium and high in fibre and vitamin B6. They are also considered a good source of vitamins A and C along with minerals like potassium, magnesium and copper. Mangoes are also a good source of antioxidants and phytochemicals - biologically active compounds found in plants.
Antioxidants are thought to help protect our cells against free radicals and the damage they can cause. Free radicals are highly reactive and can bind easily to cells and cause damage to cells. Free radicals have been linked to chronic diseases and are also thought to contribute to aging. Phytochemicals can function as antioxidants, and thus help to prevent cell damage. There are many different types of phytochemicals, but the list includes catechins, anthocyanins and certain acids including benzoic acid.
Phenolic metabolites - eat mango
Although mango contains considerable amounts of phytochemicals, not a lot is known about how they metabolize in the body. Therefore, scientists do not fully understand fully what benefits phytochemicals bring to the body and how those changes occur. The researchers from Illinois behind the paper referenced above set out to try and identify a specific set of metabolites - phenolic metabolites - in human plasma after people had been eating mango.
They sampled the blood and urine of healthy adults before and after eating mango. The post-mango samples were taken after 2 hours, 8 hours and 24 hours. Phytochemicals were also extracted from mangoes using a solution of acetone, water and acetic acid. The various samples were analysed using liquid chromatography in conjunction with mass spectrometry. The use of mass spectrometry in analysis methods in discussed in the article, More than One Way to Hit the Bullseye: Lesser Known Ways to Use Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART) Mass Spectrometry.
The team identified over 30 compounds in mango including phytochemicals like gallic acid and catechins. The blood and urine samples yielded 59 and 164 phenolic metabolites respectively. Different metabolites being detected in the different time samples. The team report that:
mango polyphenols are absorbed and extensively metabolized resulting in the production of various phenolic metabolites and their conjugates, all together contributing to the bioavailability and potential health benefits associated with mango consumption.
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