Caffeic acid

Category: Natural chemicals



Introduction and description


Caffeic acid is an organic compound found in all plants because it is a key intermediate in the biosynthesis of lignin.  Lignin is part of the cell wall of plants and helps to give the cell structure and mechanical strength and thus by extension the plant as a whole.  Lignin also plays a crucial part in conducting water in plant stems, lignin makes it possible for the plant's vascular tissue to conduct water efficiently.

Caffeic acid is unrelated to caffeine, but it is a precursor to ferulic acid.  Caffeic acid is formed from 4-hydroxycinnamic acid and then transformed to ferulic acid by the enzyme Caffeate O-methyltransferase.

Some example plants and foods that contain caffeic acid

Caffeic acid is found at a very modest level in coffee, at 0.03 mg per 100 ml. It is one of the main natural phenols in argan oil.  It is found at high level in some herbs, especially thyme, sage and spearmint (at about 20 mg per 100 grams), at high levels in spices, especially Ceylon cinnamon and star anise (at about 22 mg per 100 grams), found at fairly high level in sunflower seeds (8 mg per 100 grams), and at modest levels in red wine (1.88 mg per 100 ml) and in applesauce, apricot and plum prunes (at about 1 mg per 100 grams). It is at super high level in black chokecherry (141 mg per 100 grams) and in fairly high level in lingonberry (6 mg per 100 grams).  It is also found in barley grain and in rye grain.

More examples are given in the observations.


Related observations