J Nutr Health.  2020 Apr;53(2):121-128. 10.4163/jnh.2020.53.2.121.

Comparison of whitening effect of Rubus coreanus fruit according to maturity

  • 1Department of Herbal Crop Research, National Institute of Horticultural & Herbal Science, Eumsung 27709, Korea
  • 2Department of Food Science and Biotechnology, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju 28644, Korea


The Rubus coreanus fruit (RF) is an important traditional medicinal herb having antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunoregulatory properties. These activities are known to change dramatically, depending on maturity of the RF. It is presumed that change of functional components, such as flavonoids, tannins, phenolic acids, triterpenoids and organic acids in RF, affect the various bioactivities. This study aimed to confirm changes in the anti-melanogenic effects of RF based on maturity, and to identify the bioactive compounds responsible.
The cell viability of mature RF (MRF) and immature RF (IRF) extracts was investigated using B16F10 cells. To compare the anti-melanogenic effect of MRF and IRF extracts, we first assessed the melanin content. High-performance liquid chromatography analysis was performed to evaluate changes in the level of ellagic acid according to maturity of the RF. In addition, tyrosinase inhibitory activity of both extracts was examined.
MRF and IRF extracts (50–200 μg/mL) do not affect the cell viability of B16F10 melanoma cells. IRF extract more effectively inhibited melanin synthesis than MRF extract. The content of ellagic acid in IRF extract was higher than that obtained in MRF extract. Furthermore, greater inhibition of tyrosinase activity was observed after exposure to IRF extract than MRF extract. A positive correlation was determined between ellagic acid content and tyrosinase inhibitory activity, and a negative correlation was obtained between ellagic acid content and melanin content. Taken together, our results indicate that ellagic acid is one of the major bioactive compounds of RF that imparts a whitening effect.
Our results indicate that ellagic acid in MRF and IRF extracts affect the anti-melanogenesis effect through inhibition of tyrosinase activity. Therefore, the ellagic acid rich IRF has greater potential for application as a natural and functional cosmetic material.


Rubus coreanus; ellagic acid; melanoma cell; tyrosinase; melanin
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