Article Outline
  1. 1. Composition & Structure

Anthocyanins are water-soluble pigments that, depending on their pH, may appear red, yellow, orange, magenta, violet, purple, blue or black.

Anthocyanins are found within different plant organs; flowers, leaves, fruits, roots, tubers and grains. Food plants rich in anthocyanins include the blueberry, raspberry, black rice, and black soybean, among many others that are red, blue, purple, or black.[1]

Composition & Structure

There are nearly 25 naturally occurring anthocyanidins, however more than 700 anthocyanins derivatives have been identified to date.[1:1]

The anthocyanin molecule consists of an anthocyanidin “core” with an attached sugar moiety. They vary in the number and position of hydroxyl and methoxyl groups attached to anthocyanidin.[1:2]


The most prevalent anthocyanidins in nature are pelargonidin (Pg), cyanidin (Cy), peonidin (Pn), delphinidin (Dp), petunidin (Pt) and malvidin (Mv).[1:4]

Title: Anthocyanin pigments: Structure and biological importance
Publication: Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Date: October 2020
Study Type: Review
Author(s): Rana Nassour, Abdulkarim Ayash, Kanaan Al-Tameemi
Institution(s): Department of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, Al-Andalus University for Medical Sciences, Tartous, Syria
Abstract: Anthocyanins are coloured water-soluble pigments representing one of the major subclasses of compounds. They rarely exist in nature as free aglycons, instead, they attach to one or more sugar moieties. Anthocyanins are found within different plant organs; flowers, leaves, fruits, roots, tubers and grains. They appear in different attractive colours depending on their structure, pH, and other factors. These compounds gained a lot of attention in the last few years as food colourants replacing chemical dyes, besides their role in enhancing plant tolerance against many abiotic stresses such as salinity, drought, excessive light, ultraviolet radiation and cold stress. Besides, previous studies demonstrated the importance of anthocyanins in human health and their protective properties against chronic diseases. Hence, this review focuses on anthocyanins as one of the most important pigments having beneficial roles in health for plants and humans.

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