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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #119710


item Perkins Veazie, Penelope
item Collins, Julie

Submitted to: HortTechnology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/5/2001
Publication Date: 10/5/2001
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Consumption of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been found to lower the incidence of some coronary problems and of some cancers. Current literature indicates the presence of antioxidants, minerals, and dietary fiber provide much of the protective mechanisms found in fruits and vegetables. Small fruit are rich in anthocyanins and polyphenolic antioxidants, are good sources of vitamin C and potassium, and contain dietary fiber and calcium. These compounds also play a role in the texture and appearance of small fruits.

Technical Abstract: Small fruit are rich in several types of phytonutrients. Several of these phytonutrients, such as dietary fiber, anthocyanins, potassium, calcium, and polyphenolics, also contribute to small fruit quality. Other components contribute to appearance and taste. Non-volatile organic acids, including ascorbate (vitamin C) determine the sourness of small fruits and can alter visual color by affecting cellular pH. The soluble sugars glucose, fructose, and sucrose contribute directly to the perceived sweetness of the fruit and provide carbohydrates for phenolic synthesis. Anthocyanin pigments and polyphenolics determine the type of color (blue, red, purple) expressed and the rate of browning in cut fruit. Anthocyanin, polyphenolics, and vitamin C are highly effective antioxidants and have been shown to provide anticancer protection in humans. Dietary fiber, potassium, and calcium help regulate low density lipoprotein formation and hypertensive response.