Difference Between Anthocyanin and Anthocyanidin

Main Difference – Anthocyanin vs Anthocyanidin

Flavonoids are plant pigments that are composed of 15 carbon atoms arranged in two, joined benzene rings with three, short carbon chains. Anthocyanin and anthocyanidin are two types of red-blue plant flavonoids, mostly found in flowers and fruits of higher plants. The main difference between anthocyanin and anthocyanidin is that anthocyanin is a water-soluble vacuolar pigment whereas anthocyanidin is the sugar-free counterpart of anthocyanin. The color of both anthocyanin and anthocyanidin depends on the pH. Both types of pigments are used as pharmaceutical components, providing beneficial health effects. They are used as natural food colorants as well.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Anthocyanin
     – Definition, Facts, Benefits
2. What is Anthocyanidin
     – Definition, Facts, Benefits
3. What are the Similarities Between Anthocyanin and Anthocyanidin
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Anthocyanin and Anthocyanidin
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Anthocyanin, Anthocyanidin, Antioxidant, Flavonoids, Flavylium Ion, Food Colorants, Plant Pigments

Difference Between Anthocyanin and Anthocyanidin - Comparison Summary

What is Anthocyanin

Anthocyanin refers to a red-purple-blue flavonoid pigment found in plants. It is a water-soluble molecule. Its basic core structure is a flavylium ion. It can be found in the outer layer of plants structures such as fruits, flowers, leaves, stems, and roots. Cyanidin is the major anthocyanin found in plants. Peonidin, delphinidin, petunidin, pelargonidin, and malvidin are some examples of anthocyanin. Grape, acai, blueberry, bilberry, blackcurrant, cherry, and purple corn are the fruits that contain a higher amount of anthocyanin. Grapes are shown in figure 1.

Difference Between Anthocyanin and Anthocyanidin

Figure 1: Grapes

The color and the stability of the pigment are influenced by the pH, temperature, and light. Anthocyanin is a powerful antioxidant that protects plants from UV. Due to the antioxidant effect, anthocyanin is used in pharmaceuticals that affect cardiovascular health, anti-cancer activity, and anti-inflammatory properties. In acidic conditions, anthocyanin appears as red, and it becomes blue in basic conditions.

What is Anthocyanidin

Anthocyanidin refers to a plant pigment formed by the hydrolysis of anthocyanin and characterized by the same flavonoid structure as anthocyanin without the ketone groups. Hence, it is the aglycone form of anthocyanin. 31 monomeric anthocyanidins have been identified so far and most of them are based on cyanidin. Others are based on delphinidin and pelargonidin. The basic core structure of anthocyanidin is shown in figure 2.

Main Difference - Anthocyanin vs Anthocyanidin

Figure 2: Anthocyanidin

The color of anthocyanidin is present in the acidic conditions, and it is colorless in basic conditions. Since anthocyanidin is an antioxidant, it is also used as a pharmaceutical component. Both anthocyanin and anthocyanidin are used as natural dyes in food industry under E numbers. Both compounds contain antimicrobial activity, and they improve visual and neurological health.

Similarities Between Anthocyanin and Anthocyanidin

  • Anthocyanin and anthocyanidin are two types of red-blue plant pigments.
  • Both anthocyanin and anthocyanidin can be found in fruits, flowers, leaves, stems, and roots of higher plants.
  • Both anthocyanin and anthocyanidin are flavonoids.
  • The basic core of both anthocyanin and anthocyanidin is the flavylium
  • Both anthocyanin and anthocyanidin depend upon the pH.
  • Both anthocyanin and anthocyanidin are composed of antioxidant properties.
  • Both anthocyanin and anthocyanidin are used as food colorants and pharmaceutical components.

Difference Between Anthocyanin and Anthocyanidin

Definition

Anthocyanin: Anthocyanin refers to a red-blue flavonoid pigment found in plants.

Anthocyanidin: Anthocyanidin refers to a plant pigment formed by hydrolysis of anthocyanin.

Glycosylation

Anthocyanin: Anthocyanin is the glycosylated derivative.

Anthocyanidin: Anthocyanidin is the aglycones of the anthocyanin.

Effect of pH

Anthocyanin: Anthocyanin appears in red color in acidic pH and in blue in basic pH.  

Anthocyanidin: The color of anthocyanidin is present in  acidic conditions and it is colorless in basic conditions.

Conclusion

Anthocyanin and anthocyanidin are two types of red-blue pigments found in plants. The basic core of both anthocyanin and anthocyanidin is the flavylium ion. Anthocyanin is the glycosylated form of anthocyanidin. Anthocyanidin is composed of aglycons. The main difference between anthocyanin and anthocyanidin is the degree of glycosylation.

Reference:

1.“Phytochemicals.” Anthocyanins, .
2.“Anthocyanins and anthocyanidins.” Food-Info.net : Anthocyanins and anthocyanidins, .

Image Courtesy:

1. “Grapes after rainfall in Fennville, Michigan” By Kramer – Flickr: Grapes via
2. “Anthocyanidine” By NEUROtiker (talk) – Own work (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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