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Penelope Perkins-Veazie, Brent Black, Ingrid Fordham and Luke Howard

Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) is a small red berry that grows on shrubs from Maine to Alabama. This plant originated in China and was introduced to the U.S. in the late 1800s for erosion control. About 20% of the berry' fresh weight is in its single, large seed. The berries of Autumn olive are extremely rich in lycopene (30–50 mg/100 g). The berries are astringent, indicating that fruit may be high in phenolic compounds as well as carotenoids. There has been great interest in producing the plants in domesticated plantings, and in using the fruit as a natural source of lycopene.

This study was done to determine the relative contents of lycopene and phenolics among selections and varieties of autumn olive. The lycopene content of six selections and varieties was 30 to 55 mg·g–1. The lycopene content of berries did not increase after 4 days storage at 25 °C followed by 2 days at 5 °C. Autumn olives are high in soluble solids content (11% to 17%), and relatively high in acidity (1.7% to 5.5% citric acid). The astringent flavor of the berries may be due to the high total phenolic content (1700 mg·kg–1 chlorogenic acid equivalents). The berries were found to be high in flavanols and hydroxybenzoic acids (33 rutin and 31 gallic acid mg·kg–1 equivalents), while the seeds were high in hydroxycinnamic acids and extremely high in hydroxybenzoic acids (35 chlorogenic acid and 184 gallic acid mg·kg–1 equivalents).

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Ingrid M. Fordham, Beverly A. Clevidence, Eugene R. Wiley and Richard H. Zimmerman

Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata Thunb.) has edible fruit with brilliant red or yellow pigmentation. An analysis of the pigment in fruit of five cultivars and six naturalized plants showed that the berries contain lycopene, α-cryptoxanthin, β-cryptoxanthin, β-carotene, lutein, phytoene, and phytofluene. The lycopene content per 100 g ranged from 15 to 54 mg in fresh fruit from the naturalized plants and from 17 to 48 mg in the four cultivars with red-pigmented fruit. A cultivar with yellow fruit had only 0.47 mg/100 g fresh fruit. In contrast, fresh tomato fruit, the major dietary source of lycopene, has a lycopene content per 100 g of ≈3 mg. This newly identified source of lycopene may provide an alternative to tomato as a dietary source of lycopene and related carotenoids.

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Mustafa Ozgen, Artemio Z. Tulio Jr., Aparna Gazula, Joseph C. Scheerens, R. Neil Reese, A. Raymond Miller, Shawn R. Wright, Brent L. Black and Ingrid M. Fordham

Autumnberry (Elaeagnus umbellata, “A”) and cornelian cherry (Cornusmas, “CC”) genotypes were examined for mineral composition, anthocyanin, phenolic and tannin contents, antioxidant characteristics and levels of individual phenolic compounds via GC-MS. Values were compared with those of 58 cultivars of blackberries (“B”), black raspberries (“BR”), cranberries (“C”), elderberries (“E”), grapes (“G”), red raspberries (“RR”) and strawberries (“S”). The phenolic content of “CC” (6955 μg·gfw-1) was greater than 2× that of “B”, “BR” and “E”. Phenolic contents of “A” samples (1058-1776 μg·gfw-1) were similar to those of “RR”, red “G” and “S”. Anthocyanin levels in “CC” (270 μg·gfw-1) resembled those in “C”. “A” did not contain anthocyanins. Fruit of “CC” and “A” possessed high tannin levels (9291 μg·gfw-1 and 1410–5403 μg·gfw-1, respectively) and exhibited high antioxidant potential (μmol·gfw-1 trolox equiv.). DPPH and FRAP values of “CC” (72.1 and 94.9, respectively) were greater than 2× those of “BR”. DPPH values of “A” (23.9–56.2) were ≥ values for “BR”, whereas “A” FRAP values (13.3–34.0) were similar to those of “B” and “RR”. However, the lipid-soluble antioxidant potential of lycopene-rich “A” was substantial. Levels of individual compounds varied among cultivars. Ca and Mg contents of “A” were less than those found in “CC” and “BR”. Other mineral levels were comparable.