HomeHealthPomegranate, the split fruit is richer in anthocyanins than the whole one. Study

Pomegranate, the split fruit is richer in anthocyanins than the whole one. Study

Split pomegranate fruit, often discarded as waste, is surprisingly richer in anthocyanins than the whole fruit. The evidence emerges from a recent study (Fraschetti et al., 2023) published on Food. (1)

Pomegranate, a fruit with many virtues

Each part of the pomegranate (Punica granatum) – skins, arils and seeds – has a fitocomplesso specific, rich in antioxidant and anti-radical compounds.

Among these, punicalagin and ellagic acid, much studied for their numerous beneficial effects on human health (induction of apoptosis in tumor cells, down regulation of proinflammatory factors, antidiabetic activity, cardioprotection, prevention of chronic diseases).

No waste

The arils of pomegranate (the pulp of the red grains) have a very high content of ellagitannins, mainly punicalagins.

The peels they contain ellagitannins to a much higher extent than the arils (up to four or five times), with a more marked content of ellagic acid.

The seeds (the hard part of red grains) are instead an excellent source of conjugated isomers of linolenic acid, of which punicic acid is the most represented. Also in this case the evidence of health benefits abounds, in terms of effects on the regulation of lipid metabolism and on the anti-obesity activity (in addition to the already mentioned antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, antiproliferative and anticancer activities).

65% of the harvest at risk of waste

The tree of pomegranate adapts well to different climatic conditions, including arid ones. However, for different reasons, its fruits tend to split easily in the various stages of ripening. And it is estimated that the splitting of the fruit determines the loss of 65% of the harvest, compared with the commercial need to sell only the intact fruit.

The plus of the split pomegranate fruit

However, researchers have shown that the split pomegranate fruit It is characterized by a better chemical profilecompared to the whole fruit.

Analyzes on whole and split fruits of the popular 'Dente di Cavallo' cultivar – also compared with two commercial pomegranate juices (Salus Melagrana and La Marianna), obtained from the same cultivar – revealed a decidedly higher anthocyanin content in the split fruits (+60% ) compared to the whole fruit.
'With very interesting results in terms of α-glucosidase inhibition' (useful for blood sugar control), explain the authors of the study.

From waste to superfood

To prevent that the precious split pomegranate fruits become waste, the researchers indicate a favorite way, the sale at zero km or short supply chain.

The fruits splits can also be used in the production of juice. Provided that the journey from the field to the squeezing plant is fast enough to overcome the greater susceptibility of these fruits to fermentation and microbial contamination which can alter their organoleptic characteristics.

Marta Strinati


(1) Fraschetti C, Goci E, Nicolescu A, Cairone F, Carradori S, Filippi A, Palmieri V, Mocan A, Cesa S. (2023). Pomegranate Fruit Cracking during Ripening: From Waste to Valuable Fruits. Foods. 2023 May 6;12(9):1908. doi: 10.3390/foods12091908. PMID: 37174445; PMC ID: PMC10178262.

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Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".

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