Separation, Identification, and Bioactivities of the Main Gallotannins of Red Sword Bean (Canavalia gladiata) Coats

Ren You Gan, Kin Weng Kong, Hua Bin Li, Kao Wu, Ying Ying Ge, Chak Lun Chan, Xian Ming Shi*, Harold Corke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The red sword bean (Canavalia gladiata) is an underutilized edible bean cultivated in China. It was previously found to have the highest content of antioxidant polyphenols among 42 edible beans, mainly gallic acid, and gallotannins in its red bean coat, an apparently unique characteristic among edible beans. In this study, the main phenolic compounds in red sword bean coats were further separated by Sephadex LH-20 column chromatography, and identified by LC-MS/MS. Furthermore, the FRAP and ABTS antioxidant activities and antibacterial activity (diameter of inhibition zone, DIZ) of main gallotannin-rich fractions were tested. Our results showed that gallotannins of red sword bean coats were mainly comprised of monogalloyl to hexagalloyl hexosides. Interestingly, tetragalloyl, pentagalloyl, and hexagalloyl hexosides were identified as the possible candidates responsible for the red color of the coats. On the other hand, gallotannin-rich fractions exhibited diverse antioxidant and antibacterial activities, and tetragalloyl hexoside overall had the highest free radical scavenging and antibacterial activities. The degree of galloylation did not completely explain the structure-function relationship of gallotannins isolated from red sword bean coats, as there should exist other factors affecting their bioactivities. In conclusion, red sword bean coats are excellent natural sources of gallotannins, and their gallotannin-rich extracts can be utilized as natural antioxidant and antibacterial agents with potential health benefits as well as application in food industry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number39
JournalFrontiers in Chemistry
StatePublished - 28 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Canavalia gladiata
  • antibacterial activity
  • antioxidant activity
  • gallotannins
  • separation


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