Grape seed extract is a naturally occurring antioxidant containing proanthocyanidins, oligomers and polymers of polyhydroxy flavan-3-ols. Free radicals generated in the oxidation process are linked to aging and diseases, such as cancer and macular degeneration. Antioxidants capable of modifying the mechanisms that cause oxidative reactions are strong formulating allies for boosting nutritional profiles, shelf life and stability.
Japan's Kikkoman Corporation has offered Gravinol® grape seed extract as a dietary supplement ingredient since 1993. With corporate lineage spanning back to the early 1600s, Kikkoman is one of the world's longest continuously operating food companies. While universally known for soy sauce, the company has excelled in the reinvention of existing ingredients into new applications and markets. Within a mandate to create safer, more effective antioxidants from food sources, the company focused its efforts on proanthocyanidins, utilizing grape seeds as the raw material. Kikkoman recently completed a generally recognized as safe (GRAS) self-affirmation process for Gravinol, opening up its use in foods and beverages.
Dr. Takuro Koga, product manager, Biochemicals Division, Kikkoman Corporation, points out that Gravinol's neutral flavor makes it suitable for use in various flavoring systems. However, the ingredient also appears to work synergistically with soy to improve the flavor profile of soy-based products—an attribute unique enough to secure yet another Gravinol-specific patent. The compound is entirely soluble in solution (water or alcohol) and completely transparent in water (1.0% w/v). Heating an aqueous solution to 121°C for 30 minutes causes no change in antioxidant activity.
Dr. Koga noted the strategic significance of Gravinol within the scope of the company's current ingredient offerings. “This ingredient embodies the creative business philosophy under which Kikkoman has operated for centuries. We've taken a common ingredient and expanded its beneficial uses far beyond the original applications. This evolutionary model is building a bridge for customers entering the awakening world of twenty-first century functional foods and beverages.”