Food and chemical toxicology : an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association

Major furocoumarins in grapefruit juice I: levels and urinary metabolite(s).

PMID 21945416


Furocoumarins are phototoxic and photogenotoxic natural plant constituents occurring in cosmetics, food and drugs. Grapefruit juice is considered as a major dietary source of furocoumarins although few is known about the variability of furocoumarins in grapefruit juice. We analyzed the major furocoumarins in eight commercial grapefruit juices and in freshly prepared juices made from pink grapefruit obtained from German retailers. Bergaptol was the major furocoumarin in commercial juices, followed by bergamottin and 6',7'-dihydroxy-bergamottin (DHB), whereas an inverse picture (DHB>bergamottin>bergaptol) was obtained in freshly prepared juices. Results from different batches of a single brand of commercial juice, purchased over a period of 7 months, revealed a variability of about 50% for the individual furocoumarins and the sum. In a study with healthy volunteers, consumption of 900 ml commercial grapefruit juice (containing 12.5mg bergaptol, 6.9 mg bergamottin, and 0.6 mg DHB) resulted in an average urinary excretion of 0.36 mg free plus 13.23 mg conjugated bergaptol within 6h. Other furocoumarins were not found in urine. Thus, other grapefruit furocoumarins were obviously converted in the human body, at least in part, into bergaptol excreted in urine, since the excreted amount of bergaptol exceeded the consumed one.

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Bergamottin, analytical standard