Health beneficial effects of sugarcane have been attributed to antioxidant components present in the plant material, phenolic compounds having been identified mainly in the raw juice, culms and leaves. However, the presence of specific natural phenolic constituents in non-refined cane sugars and their potential impact on the diet as an alternative to refined sugar have not been completely evaluated. Phenolic constituents of six commercially available sugarcane derivatives (granulated jaggery, muscovado sugar, light and regular jaggery blocks, cane honey and brown sugar) were identified and quantified, in addition to their physicochemical, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties against cariogenic bacteria. Physicochemical and antioxidant properties of raw sugars were highly related to degree of refining of each product. Specific hydroxycinnamic acids (chlorogenic, caffeic, coumaric, ferulic) and flavones (apigenin, tricin, luteolin) were identified and quantified in sugarcane products. Tricin and apigenin were the most abundant phenolics in raw sugars, both considered important bioactive constituents of foods which postulate as nutraceuticals, antiproliferative and chemopreventive agents. Some derivatives and their extracts also exhibited antibacterial properties against Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus. Bioactive compounds identified in raw sugars make sugarcane natural sweeteners a healthier alternative to white sugar, to be used at home and industry. Granulated jaggeries postulate as the best substitutive due to their nutritional benefits and physicochemical attributes.
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This work was supported by the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV/PAID2010-2420) and Generalitat Valenciana (GV/2013/047). The authors would like to acknowledge both institutions for financial support.
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Barrera, C., Betoret, N. & Seguí, L. Phenolic Profile of Cane Sugar Derivatives Exhibiting Antioxidant and Antibacterial Properties. Sugar Tech 22, 798–811 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12355-020-00817-y
- Non-refined sugars
- Hydroxycinnamic acids