Oxygen Radical Absorbing Capacity, Anthocyanin and Phenolic Content of Highbush Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) during Ripening and Storage

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 32 Main St. Kentville, Nova Scotia, B4N 1J5, Canada
  • 2 Biology Department, Acadia University, 24 University Avenue, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, B4P 2R6 Canada
  • 3 Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Prince Edward Island, 550 University Avenue, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, C1A 4P3 Canada
  • 4 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 32 Main St. Kentville, Nova Scotia, B4N 1J5, Canada
  • 5 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Food Research Program, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1, Canada
  • 6 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 32 Main St. Kentville, Nova Scotia, B4N 1J5, Canada

The antioxidant properties of blueberries have been examined only in ripe fruit, although fruit of different maturities are used in processed food products. In this study, highbush blueberry cultivars Bergitta, Bluegold, and Nelson highbush blueberry fruit at different stages of ripeness were examined to characterize differences in oxygen radical absorbing capacity (ORAC) and the phenolic components responsible for ORAC. Underripe fruit at different stages of maturity were also stored at 20 °C for up to 8 days to assess changes in ORAC and phenolic content. Anthocyanin content was substantially higher in fruit of more advanced stages of ripeness. In contrast, the phenolic content and ORAC were lower in the riper fruit. Anthocyanins continued to form during storage, although rate of pigment formation declined after about 4 days. Less anthocyanin pigment was formed in the less ripe fruit. After 8 days of storage, the anthocyanin content of fruit harvested 5% to 50% or 50% to 95% blue exceeded that of ripe fruit. Up to 60% of the total phenolic content could be accounted for by anthocyanins. ORAC was positively correlated with total phenolic content (R2 = 0.78), but not with anthocyanin content.

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Contributor Notes

Corresponding author; e-mail kaltw@agr.gc.ca.
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