Gallotannins in Food

Living reference work entry


Tannins are natural polyphenolic components found in fruits such as grapes, apples, pears, plums, peaches, strawberries, and cranberries as well as in beverages including wine and tea. Other sources of tannins are Acer ginnala Maxim., Caesalpinia spinosa (Molina) Kuntze, Caesalpinia brevifolia Baill., Hamamelis virginiana L., Quercus infectoria Oliv., Terminalia chebula Retz., Eucalyptus sieberiana F. Muell., and Schinopsis Engl. species. Tannins can be classified into hydrolyzable and nonhydrolyzable (condensed) tannins. Hydrolyzable tannins possess a polyhydric alcohol group in center and hydroxyl groups that are esterified by gallic acid or hexahydroxydiphenic acid, called gallotannins and ellagitannins, respectively. Medicinal plants containing gallotannins, Rhus chinensis Mill. and Terminalia chebula Retz., have been prescribed for the treatment of cough, constipation, dysentery, and dysfunctions of the liver and kidney in traditional Chinese medicine. Gallotannins, belong to antioxidant class of polyphenols, seems to be involved in a wide variety of mechanisms linked to human health. Despite their important biological activities, ingestion of large quantities of these compounds may cause some adverse effects. The number of clinical studies on gallotannin containing natural sources is not adequate; therefore, further studies on the potential adverse effects that might be associated with high gallotannin consumption are needed. Consequently, it can be concluded as tannins in optimal doses have promising effects for human health; however, high amount of tannins is not recommended due to its possible risk in cancer induction, anti-nutritional effects, and other adverse reactions.


Tannin Gallotannin Tannic acid Bioactivity Safety 





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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of PharmacyGazi UniversityAnkaraTurkey
  2. 2.Department of ScienceUniversità degli Studi della BasilicataPotenzaItaly

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