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Effect of cooking on total vitamin C contents and antioxidant activity of sweet chestnuts (Castanea sativa Mill.)

Barros, Ana I.R.N.A., Nunes, Fernando M., Gonçalves, Berta, Bennett, Richard N., Silva, Ana Paula
Food chemistry 2011 v.128 no.1 pp. 165-172
Castanea sativa, antioxidant activity, ascorbic acid, boiling, chestnuts, cultivars, dehydroascorbic acid, fruit peels, gallic acid, humans, roasting, vitamin content, women
In this work the total vitamin C contents (ascorbic acid+dehydroascorbic acid) and antioxidant activity of raw and cooked chestnuts was evaluated. The vitamin C contents of raw chestnuts varied significantly between the different cultivars (cv) studied and it varied from 400mg/kg dry weight (cv Lada) to 693mg/kg dry weight (cv Martaínha). The different cultivars behave differently during the cooking process concerning the loss of vitamin C. A significant decrease in the vitamin C content of the chestnuts was observed, 25–54% for the boiling process and 2–77% for the roasting process. Boiled and roasted chestnuts can be good sources of vitamin C since it may represent 22.4%, 16.2%, 26.8% and 19.4%, respectively, of the recommended dietary intake for an adult man and woman. The cooking process significantly changed the antioxidant activity of the chestnuts. A difference was observed between the cultivars during the cooking processes, concerning the antioxidant activity. For the raw chestnuts the variation in vitamin C content of the chestnuts explains 99% of the antioxidant activity variation but for the roasted and boiled chestnuts this percentage significantly decreases to 51% and 88%, respectively. Although a high antioxidant activity is still present in the cooked chestnuts, the cause for this antioxidant activity is less dependent on the vitamin C content of the chestnuts, probably due to the conversion of ascorbic acid to dehydroascorbic acid. The increase in gallic acid during the cooking process, presumably transferred from the peels to the fruit, also contributes to the high antioxidant activity observed for the cooked chestnuts.