Quality and Nutritional Compounds of Prunus Cerasus L. Var. Austera Fruit Grown in Central Italy

in HortScience

Key nutritional characteristics of the fruit flesh of 41 sour cherries growing in the region of Umbria in central Italy have been determined. Fruit size, flesh dry matter content, nonstructural carbohydrates, organic acids, and anthocyanins were the analyzed parameters. Both the growing environment and genotype were statistically significant for most of the characteristics. Morello sour cherries were characterized by a large amount of sorbitol (up to 44.2 mg·g−1 FW), which contributed significantly to the dry matter content of the flesh, malic acid content that was higher (up to 48.4 mg·g−1 FW) than any published values for cherry flesh, and high anthocyanin content (up to 383.4 mg per 100 g FW). Cyanidin 3-glucosyl rutinoside was the most abundant compound. The analyzed germplasm could be the basis for breeding programs and new industrial products with high nutritional value.

Contributor Notes

We thank Marcello Cherubini for his invaluable support with the germplasm sampling procedures. This study was supported by the FANP project [Frutti Antichi per Nuovi Prodotti (Ancient Fruit for New Products)] and grants from PSR Umbria 2007–2013.

Corresponding author. E-mail: alberto.battistelli@cnr.it.

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    Fruit fresh weight (g) (A) and flesh dry matter content (%) (B) of sour cherry fruit collected in different geographical areas of the region of Umbria. Values represent the mean ± se. Data were analyzed according to a one-way analysis of variance. The bars indicate the least significant difference (LSD) between means according to Fisher’s post-hoc test (P ≤ 0.05).

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    Total carbohydrates (A), glucose (B), fructose (C), and sorbitol (D) contents in the flesh of sour cherry fruit collected in different geographical areas of the region of Umbria. Values represent the mean ± se. Data were analyzed according to a one-way analysis of variance. The bars indicate the least significant difference (LSD) between means according to Fisher’s post-hoc test (P ≤ 0.05).

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    Malic acid content (A) and sugar-to-malate ratio (B) in the flesh of sour cherry fruit collected in different geographical areas of the region of Umbria. Values represent the mean ± se. Data were analyzed according to a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). The bars indicate the least significant difference (LSD) between means according to Fisher’s post-hoc test (P ≤ 0.05).

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    Anthocyanin composition (A–F) in the flesh of sour cherry fruit collected in different geographical areas of the region of Umbria. Values represent the mean ± se. Data were analyzed according to a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). The bars indicate the least significant difference (LSD) between means according to Fisher’s post-hoc test (P ≤ 0.05).

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    Pie chart showing the percentage contribution of different metabolites and the total sugars to the dry matter content of sour cherry fruits.

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