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Colorimetric assessment of kava (Piper methysticum Forst.) quality

Lhuissier T., Mercier P.E., Michalet S., Lebot V., Legendre L.. 2017. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 59 : p. 27-34.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jfca.2017.02.005

The present study aimed at evaluating the potential of diethyl ether extracts UV/visible (UV/vis) absorbance for assessing the suitability of commercial lots of kava (Piper methysticum). The UV/vis absorption spectra of diethyl ether root extracts of 15 cultivars clustered them into three groups in parallel to their known genetic relatedness and their chemical composition determined by GC¿MS and LC¿MS analyses. Absorption peaks at 250 nm and 290 nm respectively corresponded to kavain, the most health-promoting kavalactone, and dihydromethysticin a non-desirable kavalactone. The absorbance peak at 340¿350 nm reflected the yellow coloration of the extract, which was mainly due to the undesirable flavokavins, desmethoxyyangonin and yangonin. Ratios of absorbance values at 250 nm and 290 nm significantly differentiated all three groups of cultivars, namely 'noble' which provide health benefits from 'two-day' and 'wichmannii' that are health damaging. These results provide a robust and rapid colorimetric test for routine control of a critical aspect of the quality of kava batches.

Mots-clés : piper methysticum; qualité; contrôle de qualité; composition des aliments; technique analytique; colorimétrie; chalcone; lactone; vanuatu; kava

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