The Bio-Functional Properties of Pigmented Cereals may Involve Synergies among Different Bioactive Species

  • Parisa Abbasi Parizad
  • Jessica Capraro
  • Alessio Scarafoni
  • Francesco Bonomi
  • Massimo Blandino
  • Mauro Marengo
  • Debora Giordano
  • Aristodemo Carpen
  • Stefania IamettiEmail author
Original Paper


This study was aimed at characterizing the anthocyanins and phenolics profile in different varieties of pigmented corn and wheat and in some of their milling fractions. Acid/ethanol extracts were used to assess total anthocyanins, overall antioxidant activity, the overall polyphenol profile, and for evaluating the inhibition of pancreatic α-amylase and of intestinal α-glucosidase. Both enzymes were inhibited in a dose-dependent manner by all extracts, but individual extracts had specific effects on each enzyme. Anti-inflammatory response was evaluated by using acid-free extracts and Caco-2 cells transiently transfected with a luciferase reporter gene responding to cytokine stimulation. The immune response of interleukin-stimulated cells decreased significantly in a dose-dependent manner in the presence of 20–50 μM/l anthocyanins from all grains extracts, again with a different efficiency. The inhibitory ability and the anti-inflammatory capability of these extracts are in most cases higher than in similar extracts from other sources, suggesting that activities in each extract may imply specific synergies between anthocyanins and other phenolics.


Pigmented cereals Anthocyanins Polyphenols Anti-inflammatory activity Inhibition of carbohydrate metabolism enzymes 



Blue corn (whole meal)


Blue corn T (whole meal)


Blue wheat (bioactives-rich fraction from a debranning step)


Ferric reducing antioxidant power

IC50 (half-maximal inhibitory concentration)

the concentration at which each of the measured biological activity (enzymatic, or response to stimulatory interleukines) is inhibited by 50%


Purple wheat (bioactives-rich fraction from a debranning step)


red corn (whole meal)


Total anthocyanin content


Total polyphenol content


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

All the Authors of this manuscript declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Parisa Abbasi Parizad
    • 1
  • Jessica Capraro
    • 1
  • Alessio Scarafoni
    • 1
  • Francesco Bonomi
    • 1
  • Massimo Blandino
    • 2
  • Mauro Marengo
    • 1
  • Debora Giordano
    • 2
  • Aristodemo Carpen
    • 1
  • Stefania Iametti
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences (DeFENS)University of MilanMilanItaly
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (DISAFA)University of TurinGrugliascoItaly

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