Several studies have indicated that the ingestion of natural antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables reduces the damage caused by free radicals and protects the body against many diseases (Schulz et al., 2019; Souza et al., 2014; Van de Velde et al., 2016). However, industrial research is facing the important challenge of substituting synthetic antioxidant compounds for substances derived from plants. Therefore, there is an emphasis on products that fulfill such demands, and it is necessary to find potential sources of such compounds in nature and elucidate the processes related to their production in plants (Croge et al., 2019). Blackberry presents itself as one of the most promising species due to its high level of antioxidant compounds (Moyer et al., 2002). Heinonen et al. (1998) found the highest indices of polyphenols and a higher capacity to inhibit human low-density lipoprotein (LDL) degradation (a characteristic related to antioxidant activity) in blackberries compared with 12 other species of small fruits.
The amount and distribution of antioxidant compounds vary substantially among different blackberry cultivars, as shown by divergent published data regarding the content and classes of compounds found in blackberries (Mullen et al., 2002; Paredes-López et al., 2010). It is inferred that biotic and abiotic factors such as genetics, climate, water availability, and crop management have an important role in the level of bioactive compounds and antioxidant capacity of blackberries (Castrejón et al., 2008; Reyes-Carmona et al., 2005).
According to Strik (2008), there are more than 20,000 hectares of blackberry worldwide, and there are many cultivars (Campagnolo and Pio, 2012; Clark and Finn, 2011). Some of these were introduced to Brazil in the 1970s, when a breeding program was launched to attend to the demands of some growers. Among them are Tupy, the most widely grown cultivar in South America, and Xavante, a thornless, very promising cultivar in terms of productivity (Croge et al., 2016; Pio and Gonçalves, 2014).
Therefore, the objective of this research was to characterize and compare bioactive compounds and the antioxidant activity of four blackberry cultivars grown under different climates (temperate and humid mesothermal climate).
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