Plant ferritin represents a novel class of iron supplement, which widely co-exists with phenolic acids in a plant diet. However, there are few reports on the effect of these phenolic acids on function of ferritin. In this study, we demonstrated that cinnamic acid derivatives, as widely occurring phenolic acids, can induce iron release from holo soybean seed ferritin (SSF) in a structure-dependent manner. The ability of the iron release from SSF by five cinnamic acids follows the sequence of Cinnamic acid > Chlorogenic acid > Ferulic acid > p
-Coumaric acid > Trans
-Cinnamic acid. Fluorescence titration in conjunction with dialysis results showed that all of these five compounds have a similar, weak ability to bind with protein, suggesting that their protein-binding ability is not related to their iron release activity. In contrast, both Fe2+
-chelating activity and reducibility of these cinnamic acid derivatives are in good agreement with their ability to induce iron release from ferritin. These studies indicate that cinnamic acid and its derivatives could have a negative effect on iron stability of holo soybean seed ferritin in diet, and the Fe2+
-chelating activity and reducibility of cinnamic acid and its derivatives have strong relations to the iron release of soybean seed ferritin.
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