Abstract The absorption and metabolism of delphinidin 3- O-β- d-glucopyranoside (Dp3G), which is the most potent antioxidant among the blueberry anthocyanins, were studied in rats. Dp3G rapidly appeared in the blood plasma within 15 min of oral administration (100 mg/kg body wt). The plasma level of absorbed Dp3G showed two peaks at 15 and 60 min after ingestion and then decreased time-dependently. However, the plasma level was maintained at approximately 30 nmol/l even after 4 h. Besides the Dp3G peak, a single major metabolite peak was detected by HPLC in the blood plasma obtained at 15 min. MS and NMR spectroscopy clarified that the chemical structure of the metabolite was 4′- O-methyl delphinidin 3- O-β- d-glucopyranoside (methylation of the 4′-OH on the delphinidin B-ring). The present finding of this unique metabolite in anthocyanin metabolism strongly suggests that methylation of the 4′-OH on the flavonoid B-ring is a common metabolic pathway for flavonoids that carry the pyrogallol structure on the B-ring, as the same type of metabolite has been reported for other flavonoids such as epigallocatechin, but not for flavonoids carrying the catechol structure.