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Color development of proanthocyanidins in vanillin-hydrochloric acid reaction


The influence of proanthocyanidin (PA) structures contained in bark on color development in the vanillin-hydrochloric acid (V-HCl) method used widely as a quantitative method for measuring PA were examined. The maximal absorption wavelength was different in terms of the bark from which the PA was obtained. Phenyl nucleus (resorcinol, phloroglucinol) constituting the A-ring of PA reacts with vanillin to produce the color. The maximal absorption wavelengths of the solutions from synthesized procyanidin and profisetinidin were 500 and 540 nm, respectively, indicating that the color tone differs in the V-HCl method based on the hydroxylation patterns of the A-ring. The colored solution of (+)-catechin with vanillin was dialyzed, and the resulting product (C-VC) was analyzed by gel permeation chromatography and 1H nuclear magnetic resonance. It was found that C-VC was a polymer complex consisting of 9mol (+)-catechin moieties and 10mol vanillin moieties. It was presumed that the cationized vanillin molecules that do not combine with (+)-catechin play an important role on color development in the presence of C-VC.


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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tohru Mitsunaga.

Additional information

This study was presented at the 44th and 45th Annual Meetings of The Japan Wood Research Society, Nara and Tokyo, April 1994 and April 1995

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Mitsunaga, T., Doi, T., Kondo, Y. et al. Color development of proanthocyanidins in vanillin-hydrochloric acid reaction. J Wood Sci 44, 125–130 (1998).

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Key words

  • Proanthocyanidin
  • Vanillin-HCl method
  • (+)-Catechin-vanillin complex
  • Co-pigmentation