Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 72, Issue 3, pp 288–293 | Cite as

Verifying Identities of Plant-Based Multivitamins Using Phytochemical Fingerprinting in Combination with Multiple Bioassays

  • Yeni Lim
  • Yoon Hee Ahn
  • Jae Keun Yoo
  • Kyoung Sik Park
  • Oran Kwon
Original Paper


Sales of multivitamins have been growing rapidly and the concept of natural multivitamin, plant-based multivitamin, or both has been introduced in the market, leading consumers to anticipate additional health benefits from phytochemicals that accompany the vitamins. However, the lack of labeling requirements might lead to fraudulent claims. Therefore, the objective of this study was to develop a strategy to verify identity of plant-based multivitamins. Phytochemical fingerprinting was used to discriminate identities. In addition, multiple bioassays were performed to determine total antioxidant capacity. A statistical computation model was then used to measure contributions of phytochemicals and vitamins to antioxidant activities. Fifteen multivitamins were purchased from the local markets in Seoul, Korea and classified into three groups according to the number of plant ingredients. Pearson correlation analysis among antioxidant capacities, amount phenols, and number of plant ingredients revealed that ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) and 2,2-diphenyl-1-picryhydrazyl (DPPH) assay results had the highest correlation with total phenol content. This suggests that FRAP and DPPH assays are useful for characterizing plant-derived multivitamins. Furthermore, net effect linear regression analysis confirmed that the contribution of phytochemicals to total antioxidant capacities was always relatively higher than that of vitamins. Taken together, the results suggest that phytochemical fingerprinting in combination with multiple bioassays could be used as a strategy to determine whether plant-derived multivitamins could provide additional health benefits beyond their nutritional value.


Plant-based multivitamins Phytochemicals Fingerprinting Bioassay Natural claim 



2,2′-azino-di-[3-ethylbenzthiazoline sulphonate]




Ferric reducing antioxidant power


Gallic acid equivalent


Generalized partially double-index model


Hydrogen atom transfer


Oxygen radical absorbance capacity


Quadrupole time-of-flight


Total antioxidant capacity


Total antioxidant status


Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity


Total phenolic content



This study was supported by Bio-synergy Research Project through the National Research Foundation (NRF 2012M3A9C4048761) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Republic of Korea.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Supplementary material

11130_2017_622_MOESM1_ESM.docx (33 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 32 kb)


  1. 1.
    Radimer K, Bindewald B, Hughes J, Ervin B, Swanson C, Picciano MF (2004) Dietary supplement use by US adults: data from the National Health and nutrition examination survey, 1999-2000. Am J Epidemiol 160:339–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lerman RH, Desai A, Lamb JJ, Chang JL, Darland G, Konda VR (2014) A phytochemical-rich multivitamin-multimineral supplement is bioavailable and reduces serum oxidized low-density lipoprotein, myeloperoxidase, and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 in a four-week pilot trial of healthy individuals. Glob Adv Health Med 3:34–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bolling BW, Chen CY, McKay DL, Blumberg JB (2011) Tree nut phytochemicals: composition, antioxidant capacity, bioactivity, impact factors. A systematic review of almonds, brazils, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. Nutr Res Rev 24:244–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Pietta PG (2000) Flavonoids as antioxidants. J Nat Prod 63:1035–1042CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Liu RH (2003) Health benefits of fruit and vegetables are from additive and synergistic combinations of phytochemicals. Am J Clin Nutr 78:517s–520sGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Rumiyati JV, James AP (2013) Total phenolic and phytosterol compounds and the radical scavenging activity of germinated Australian sweet lupin flour. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 68:352–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Wall-Medrano A, Gonzalez-Aguilar GA, Loarca-Pina GF, Lopez-Diaz JA, Villegas-Ochoa MA, Tortoledo-Ortiz O, Olivas-Aguirre FJ, Ramos-Jimenez A, Robles-Zepeda R (2016) Ripening of Pithecellobium dulce (Roxb.) Benth. [Guamuchil] fruit: physicochemical, chemical and antioxidant changes. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 71:396–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Tung YT, Lin LC, Liu YL, Ho ST, Lin CY, Chuang HL, Chiu CC, Huang CC, Wu JH (2015) Antioxidative phytochemicals from Rhododendron oldhamii maxim. Leaf extracts reduce serum uric acid levels in potassium oxonate-induced hyperuricemic mice. BMC Complement Altern Med 15:423Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Liazid A, Barbero GF, Azaroual L, Palma M, Barroso CG (2014) Stability of anthocyanins from red grape skins under pressurized liquid extraction and ultrasound-assisted extraction conditions. Molecules 19:21034–21043CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Goupy P, Hugues M, Boivin P, Amiot MJ (1999) Antioxidant composition and activity of barley (Hordeum vulgare) and malt extracts and of isolated phenolic compounds. J Sci Food Agric 79:1625–1634CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Walker RB, Everette JD (2009) Comparative reaction rates of various antioxidants with ABTS radical cation. J Agric Food Chem 57:1156–1161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Benzie IF, Strain JJ (1996) The ferric reducing ability of plasma (FRAP) as a measure of "antioxidant power": the FRAP assay. Anal Biochem 239:70–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Huang D, Ou B, Hampsch-Woodill M, Flanagan JA, Prior RL (2002) High-throughput assay of oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) using a multichannel liquid handling system coupled with a microplate fluorescence reader in 96-well format. J Agric Food Chem 50:4437–4444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Singleton VL, Orthofer R, Lamuela-Raventós RM (1999) [14] Analysis of total phenols and other oxidation substrates and antioxidants by means of folin-ciocalteu reagent. Methods Enzymol 299:152–178Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Yoo JK, Kwon O (2016) Case studies: statistical analysis of contributions of vitamins and phytochemicals to antioxidant activities in plant-based multivitamins through generalized partially double-index model. Commun Stat Appl Methods 23:251–258Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kim JY, Kwon O (2011) Culinary plants and their potential impact on metabolic overload. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1229:133–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Verkman AS (2004) Drug discovery in academia. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol 286:C465–C474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Xie P, Chen S, Liang Y-z, Wang X, Tian R, Upton R (2006) Chromatographic fingerprint analysis—a rational approach for quality assessment of traditional Chinese herbal medicine. J Chromatogr A 1112:171–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Dresler S, Kubrak T, Rutkowska E, Gagos M, Bogucka-Kocka A, Swieboda R, Wojcik M (2016) Comparison of analytical methods in chemometric fingerprinting of metallicolous and non-metallicolous populations of Echium vulgare L. Phytochem Anal 27:239–248Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Donno D, Boggia R, Zunin P, Cerutti A, Guido M, Mellano M, Prgomet Z, Beccaro G (2016) Phytochemical fingerprint and chemometrics for natural food preparation pattern recognition: an innovative technique in food supplement quality control. J Food Sci Technol 53:1071–1083CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Zheng W, Wang SY (2001) Antioxidant activity and phenolic compounds in selected herbs. J Agric Food Chem 49:5165–5170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Paiva SA, Russell RM (1999) Beta-carotene and other carotenoids as antioxidants. J Am Coll Nutr 18:426–433CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Dillard CJ, German JB (2000) Phytochemicals: nutraceuticals and human health. J Sci Food Agric 80:1744–1756CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Serafini M, Del Rio D (2004) Understanding the association between dietary antioxidants, redox status and disease: is the total antioxidant capacity the right tool? Redox Rep 9:145–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Yang M, Chung SJ, Chung CE, Kim DO, Song WO, Koo SI, Chun OK (2011) Estimation of total antioxidant capacity from diet and supplements in US adults. Br J Nutr 106:254–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Rapisarda P, Tomaino A, Lo Cascio R, Bonina F, De Pasquale A, Saija A (1999) Antioxidant effectiveness as influenced by phenolic content of fresh orange juices. J Agric Food Chem 47:4718–4723CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Gorinstein S, Haruenkit R, Poovarodom S, Vearasilp S, Ruamsuke P, Namiesnik J, Leontowicz M, Leontowicz H, Suhaj M, Sheng GP (2010) Some analytical assays for the determination of bioactivity of exotic fruits. Phytochem Anal 21:355–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Nutritional Science and Food ManagementEwha Womans UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of StatisticsEwha Womans UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Department of Biomedical ScienceCheongju UniversityCheongjuRepublic of Korea

Personalised recommendations