, 213:242 | Cite as

Flavan-3-ols and procyanidins in grape seeds: biodiversity and relationships among wild and cultivated vines

  • Mehdi TradEmail author
  • Carine Le Bourvellec
  • Hmida Ben Hamda
  • Catherine M. G. C. Renard
  • Mounira Harbi


Flavan-3-ol monomers and polymers composition of seeds from wild (17) and autochthonous (8) Vitis vinifera grapes growing in northern Tunisia were evaluated. Wild grape seeds were spherical with a small beak and relatively a high seed/berry ratio (~ 18.1%w/w). Local cultivars developed pyriform-shaped seeds with a well-developed beak representing on average 2.2% of total weight of the berry. Flavanol concentrations ranged between 40.9 and 67.5 mg/g FW in seeds from wild accessions and between 48.9 and 96.7 mg/g FW in seeds from cultivated grapes. Differences between accessions were highly significant (p < 0.01) and seeds from cultivar ‘Boukhasla’ showed the highest polyphenols content. Among flavan-3-ol monomers, (+)-catechin was predominant for all ecotypes and generally their abundance was: (+)-catechin (Cat) > (−)-epicatechin (Ec) > (−)-epicatechin-3-O-gallate (EcG). The Cat/Ec ratio was approximately 1.7 for wild grapes while it was about 2.5 for cultivated grapes. Procyanidins in wild seeds differed from cultivated ones by a lower mDP and higher proportions of galloylated derivatives, likely to affect fruit bitterness and astringency. (−)-epicatechin was the main extension subunit in grape seed procyanidins, reaching on average 52% in wild and 58% in cultivated seeds. Hierarchical cluster analysis based on seeds morphometry and procyanidin profile indicated close proximity between some wild and cultivated grapes suggesting that some cultivars derived from ancestral events of local domestication or cross hybridization with native wild plants.


Vitis vinifera Wild grapes Seed/berry ratio Condensed tannins (+)-Catechin Genetic resources 



The authors are grateful to Mr. Hamadi Hlel for providing plant material and help during sampling and to Mz. Marielle Boge for logistic aid and support at the storage and lyophilization steps. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of HorticultureNational Institute of Agricultural Research of Tunisia, INRATArianaTunisia
  2. 2.UMR408 SQPOV, INRA, Avignon UniversitéAvignonFrance

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