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Ferulic acid is an organic compound that is an abundant phenolic phytochemical found in plant cell walls. It is a derivative of trans-cinnamic acid. As a component of lignin, ferulic acid is a precursor in the manufacture of other aromatic compounds.
Etymology : from Ferula, giant fennel.
Occurrence in nature
Ferulic acid, together with dihydroferulic acid, is a component of lignocellulose, serving to crosslink the lignin and polysaccharides, thereby conferring rigidity to the cell walls. It is found in seeds of plants such as in rice, wheat, and oats, as well as in coffee, apple, artichoke, peanut, orange and pineapple. It can be extracted from wheat bran and maize bran using concentrated alkali. Biosynthesis of ferulic acid is by the action of the enzyme O-methyl transferase on caffeic acid .
Ferulic acid, like many phenols, is an antioxidant in the sense that it is reactive toward free radicals such as reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS and free radicals are implicated in DNA damage, cancer, accelerated cell aging. Animal studies and in vitro studies suggest that ferulic acid may have direct antitumor activity against breast cancer  and liver cancer . Ferulic acid may have pro-apoptotic effects in cancer cells, thereby leading to their destruction . Ferulic acid may be effective at preventing cancer induced by exposure to the carcinogenic compounds benzopyrene  and 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide . Note that these are not randomized controlled trials done with human participants, and therefore, the results of these studies may not be directly applicable to human use.
As a precursor to vanillin
Ferulic acid, being highly abundant, may be useful as a precursor in the manufacturing of vanillin, a synthetic flavoring agent often used in place of natural vanilla extract . However, biotechnological processes may be the most efficient method to use ferulic acid as a precursor , and as such, research is still ongoing.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ferulic_acid". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|