Blueberries and Antioxidant Activity by U S High Bush Blueberry Council
Antioxidants help to neutralize free
radicals, which are unstable molecules that are linked to the
development of a number of degenerative diseases and conditions
including cancer, cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment,
immune dysfunction, cataracts and macular degeneration.
Fruits and vegetables are sources of natural antioxidants and among
them blueberries have one of the highest levels of antioxidant
The following research excerpts
including on the antioxidant capacity of blueberries are provided
for information purposes. Antioxidant levels may be affected by
fruit maturity at harvest, growing condition, type of cultivar, and
Wu X, Beecher GR, Holden JM,
Haytowitz DB, Gebhardt SE, Prior RL. "Lipophilic and hydrophilic
antioxidant capacities of common foods in the United States,"
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2004,
radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) assay was used to measure both
lipophilic and hydrophilic antioxidant capacities in fruits,
including blueberries, vegetables, nuts, dried fruits, spices,
cereals, infant, and other foods. Total antioxidant capacity (TAC)
was calculated by combining lipophilic ORACFL and hydrophilic
ORACFL values. Cultivated blueberries had a TAC of 62.20 μmol of
TE/g or 9019 μmole of TE/1 cup serving. When the foods were
categorized into four groups ranked by their hydrophilic ORACFL per
serving values, blueberries ranked in the top quartile.
Howard LR, Clark JR,
Brownmiller C. "Antioxidant capacity and phenolic content in
blueberries as affected by genotype and growing season," Journal of
the Science of Food and Agriculture, 2003,
compared the total phenolics (TPH), total anthocyanins (ACY), total
hydroxycinnamic acids (HCA), total flavonols (FLA), fruit weight
and oxygen radical-absorbing capacity (ORAC) of 18 blueberry
genotypes grown over two growing seasons at the same locations.
ORAC, TPH, ACY, HCA, FLA and fruit weight levels were affected more
by genotype than by growing seasons. However, the ORAC and phenolic
content of some genotypes varied over the two growing seasons,
suggesting that environmental growing conditions can affect levels
of phenolics and ORAC in blueberries. The authors suggest
that blueberry genotypes should be screened over several growing
seasons in order to identify germplasm rich in antioxidants and
Zheng W, Wang SY. "Oxygen
radical absorbing capacity of phenolics in blueberries,
cranberries, chokeberries, and lingonberries," Journal of
Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2003, 51:502-509.
activity of phenolic compounds in blueberries and other berries and
the activitystructure relationships of flavonoids and phenolic
acids using the oxygen radical absorbance capacity assay (ORAC)
were investigated. ORAC, anthocyanin and total phenolic content of
blueberries (cv. Serra) was 28.9 umol of TE/g, 1.20 mg cyanidin
3-glucoside equivalents/g and 4.12 mg gallic acid equivalents/g
respectively. Blueberries contained the phenolic compounds
chlorogenic acid, myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol. Chlorogenic
acid (20.9% of the ORAC value) was a major contributor to
antioxidant activity due to its high concentration in blueberries.
The combination of the 11 anthocyanins found in blueberries
accounted for 56.3% of the total ORAC value.
Sellappan S, Akoh CC, Krewer G.
"Phenolic compounds and antioxidant capacity of Georgia-grown
blueberries and blackberries," Journal of Agricultural and Food
Chemistry, 2002, 50:2432-2438.
A variety of
Rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei) cultivars and
Southern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)
cultivars were collected and analyzed for flavonoids, phenolic
acids, total anthocyanins, total polyphenols, and Trolox-equivalent
antioxidant capacity (TEAC). Phenolic acids measured were gallic
acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid, ferulic
acid and ellagic acid. Flavonoids measured were catechin,
epicatechin, myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol. Rabbiteye
blueberry, Tifblue, had the highest concentration of gallic acid
(258.90 mg/100g) and ferulic acid (16.97 mg/100 g). Some cultivars
contained ellagic acid, which ranged from 0.75-6.65 mg/100 g FW in
the southern highbush and from 0.19-6.02 mg/100 g in the rabbiteye
Moyer RA, Hummer KE, Finn CE,
Frei B, Wrolstad RE. "Anthocyanins, phenolics, and antioxidant
capacity in diverse small fruits: Vaccinium, Rubus, and Ribes,"
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2002,
Anthocyanin, phenolic and antioxidant
capacity content of nine Vaccinium, seven
Rubus and five Ribes species was measured.
Within Vaccinium corymbosum L., the mean anthocyanin and
phenolic content was 208 mg/100 g and 444 mg/100 g, respectively.
Fruit size was highly correlated with anthocyanin content. Mean
antioxidant activity was 52.3 umol TE/g based on the ORAC assay and
58.6 umol/g based on the FRAP assay.
Ehlenfeldt MK, Prior RL.
"Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) and phenolic and
anthocyanin concentrations in fruit and leaf tissues of highbush
blueberry," Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2001,
The study compared total phenolics and
anthocyanins concentrations and antioxidant capacity (ORAC) in 87
highbush blueberry cultivars. Average values for ORAC, phenolics
and anthocyanins in fruit were 15.9 ORAC units/g, 0.95 mg gallic
acid equivalents/g, and 1.79 mg cyanidin-3-glucoside equivalents/g,
Wang SY, Jiao H. "Scavenging
capacity of berry crops on superoxide radicals, hydrogen peroxide,
hydroxyl radicals, and singlet oxygen," Journal of Agricultural and
Food Chemistry, 2000, 48:5677-5684.
The fruit juice from the Bluecrop and Elliot cultivars of
blueberries and other berries, was evaluated for antioxidant
activity against superoxide radicals, hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl
radicals and singlet oxygen. Juice from Elliot blueberries was
among the juices with the highest antioxidant capacity against
superoxide radicals, hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl radicals and
Cao G, Shukitt-Hale B, Bickford
PC, Joseph JA, McEwen J, Prior RL. "Hyperoxiainduced changes in
antioxidant capacity and the effect of dietary antioxidants,"
Journal of Applied Physiology, 1999,
A hyperoxia-induced redistribution of
proteins and antioxidants between blood stream, lung, and pleural
effusion was partially blocked in lab animals fed a diet
supplemented with blueberry extract for eight weeks.
Prior RL, Cao G, Martin A,
Sofic E, McEwen, J, O'Brien C Lischner N, Ehlenfeldt M, Kalt W,
Krewer G, Mainland CM.
"Antioxidant capacity as influenced by
total phenolic and anthocyanin content, maturity, and variety of
Journal of Agricultural and
Food Chemistry, 1998, 46:2686-2693.
Different cultivars of four Vaccinium species were
analyzed for total phenolics, total anthocyanins, and antioxidant
capacity. Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) ranged from
13.9 to 42.3 umol/g in Vaccinium corymbosum and
Vaccinium ashei which was higher than levels found in
other fruits and vegetables previously tested.
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