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Citrus Flavonoids in Fruit and Traditional Chinese Medicinal Food Ingredients in China

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Flavonoids-enriched tissues of citrus such as peel, immature fruit and flower are consumed as culinary seasonings, tea ingredients in China for centuries. This HPLC quantitative study on the five citrus flavonoids, naringin, hesperidin, neohesperidin, sinensetin and nobiletin on a wide range of Chinese citrus fruits and several Traditional Chinese Medicinal food ingredients in East China, revealed a great diversity in flavonoid composition. Huyou peel (C. paradisi cv. Changshanhuyou) was found to be the best naringin (3.25%) and neohesperidin (2.76%) source; C. aurantium, a major ingredient of several citrus-related TCM, is also a suitable source of naringin and neohesperidin, and a good juice source for flavanone glycosides; the peel of Wenzhoumiju (C. unshiu) is one of the richest local species in hesperidin (up to 6.25%); Zaoju (C. subcompressa) has the highest content of nobiletin (0.59%), a polymethoxylated flavone. LC-ES-MS analysis of Zanthoxylum genus for flavonoids revealed for the first time the presence of significant amounts (0.74%) of hesperidin in the root of Liangmianzhen (Z. nitidum (Roxb.) DC), a relative of Sichuan pepper, which is a spice widely used in China.

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We sincerely thank Mr. Wen Falin, Mr. Chen Huashen, Mr. Chen Xiaoyi, Mr. Ge Liang, Mr. Han Zehong and Ms. Pan Xin for their warm help in providing samples and cultivar information.

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Correspondence to Yanhua Lu.

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Lu, Y., Zhang, C., Bucheli, P. et al. Citrus Flavonoids in Fruit and Traditional Chinese Medicinal Food Ingredients in China. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 61, 55–63 (2006).

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