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Comparison of Antioxidant Activity, Anthocyanins, Carotenoids, and Phenolics of Three Native Fresh and Sun-Dried Date (Phoenix dactylifera L.) Varieties Grown in Oman

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Plant Research Center, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, P.O. Box 292, P.C. 132, Al-Khoud, Muscat, Oman; Faculty of Health, Life, and Social Sciences, Food Research Center, University of Lincoln, Brayford Pool, Lincoln LN6 7TS, United Kingdom; and Department of Biochemistry, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland A1B 3X9, Canada
Cite this: J. Agric. Food Chem. 2005, 53, 19, 7592–7599
Publication Date (Web):August 17, 2005
Copyright © 2005 American Chemical Society

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    Fresh and sun-dried dates of three native varieties from Oman, namely, Fard, Khasab, and Khalas, were examined for their antioxidant activity and total contents of anthocyanins, carotenoids, and phenolics, as well as free and bound phenolic acids. All results are expressed as mean value ± standard deviation (n = 3) on a fresh weight basis. Fresh date varieties were found to be a good source of antioxidants (11687−20604 μmol of Trolox equiv/g), total contents of anthocyanins (0.24−1.52 mg of cyanidin 3-glucoside equiv/100 g), carotenoids (1.31−3.03 mg/100 g), phenolics (134−280 mg of ferulic acid equiv/100 g), free phenolic acids (2.61−12.27 mg/100 g), and bound phenolic acids (6.84−30.25 mg/100 g). A significant (p < 0.05) amount of antioxidants and carotenoids was lost after sun-drying of dates, whereas the total content of phenolics and free and bound phenolic acids increased significantly (p < 0.05). Anthocyanins were detected only in fresh dates. Date varieties had different levels and patterns of phenolic acids. Four free phenolic acids (protocatechuic acid, vanillic acid, syringic acid, and ferulic acid) and nine bound phenolic acids (gallic acid, protocatechuic acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, vanillic acid, caffeic acid, syringic acid, p-coumaric acid, ferulic acid, and o-coumaric acid) were tentatively identified. Of the date varieties studied, Khalas, which is considered to be premium quality, had higher antioxidant activity, total carotenoids, and bound phenolic acids than other varieties. These results suggest that all date varieties serve as a good source of natural antioxidants and could potentially be considered as a functional food or functional food ingredient, although some of their antioxidant constituents are lost during sun-drying.

    Keywords: Fresh and sun-dried dates; antioxidant; anthocyanins; carotenoids; phenolics; phenolic acids

     Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.


     Author to whom correspondence should be addressed [telephone +44 (0) 1522 886024; fax +44 (0) 1522 886026; e-mail [email protected]].


     University of Lincoln.


     Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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