Phlorizin is known for its role in reducing glucotoxicity and has a long history of use in diabetes research. In addition, its contribution to the pool of total phenolics adds to the overall health benefits attributed to fruit. Phlorizin is limited to Rosaceae family plants, of which apple comprises its current commercial source; however, limited information exists regarding its biodiversity among apple taxa. A subset of 22 taxa from a core collection of apple accessions representative of the global genetic diversity of apple was used to investigate the biodiversity of phlorizin present in apple shoots and in fruit relative to total phenolic content and free radical scavenging capacity. Fruit and shoots were harvested from the USDA Plant Genetic Resources Unit in Geneva, N.Y. Validation and quantification of phlorizin was conducted using a rigorous high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) procedure. Total phenolics in fruit, assayed using a Folin-Ciocalteu method and expressed as gallic acid equivalents, ranged from 227 to 7181 mg·L-1
and were strongly related to 2,2' azinobis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) antioxidant capacity for the core collection (r= 0.778). On a molar basis, phlorizin had lower antioxidant capacity than other major phenolic compounds present in apple fruit, but was more effective than ascorbic acid. Phlorizin yield in dormant apple shoots, expressed as percent weight, ranged from 0.9% to 5.5%. A rapid, 96 well micro-plate spectrophotometric assay was also developed to aid in the screening of multiple samples for selection of high phlorizin yielding apple taxa. Spectrophotometry overestimated phlorizin content as expected, but the calibration curve between HPLC and spectrophotometry was acceptable, r2 = 0.88.