Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Corvallis, Oregon » Horticultural Crops Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #197409

Title: Anthocyanins and Other Polyphenolics in American Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) and European Elderberry (S. nigra) Cultivars

Author
item Lee, Jungmin
item Finn, Chad

Submitted to: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/15/2007
Publication Date: 9/11/2007
Citation: Lee, J., Finn, C.E. 2007. Anthocyanins and other polyphenolics in American elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) and European elderberry (S. nigra) cultivars. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 87:2665-2675.

Interpretive Summary: Elderberries are loaded with anthocyanins, red and blue pigments, which are powerful antioxidants. While native to North America and Europe, elderberries have been a minor commercial fruit crop, traditionally used to make jams and jellies. Elderberries have recently generated a great deal of interest due to their nutraceutical value. We examined eight cultivars of American elderberry, Sambucus canadensis L., and two cultivars of European elderberry, S. nigra L., for anthocyanins and polyphenolics. American elderberry is a better source of acylated anthocyanins than is the European elderberry. These acylated anthocyanins are more stable during food processing and storage. While the European elder is easier to manage in commercial plantings, the American elderberry produces a higher quality fruit product and research should focus on improving management practices for the American elderberry.

Technical Abstract: Ten genotypes representing two elderberry species, Sambucus canadensis L. (eight genotypes) and S. nigra L. (two genotypes), were examined for their total anthocyanins (ACY), total phenolics (TP), °Brix, titratable acidity (TA), pH, and individual anthocyanins and polyphenolics. Overall, the fruit had higher ACY, TP, ACY/TP, °Brix, and pH in 2005 than 2004 (with the exception of ‘Harris 2’). All samples of S. canadensis (cyanidin 3-(E)-p-coumaroyl-sambubioside-5-glucoside and cyanidin 3-sambubioside-5-glucoside are major pigments) had similar anthocyanin profiles from one another, but were distinctly different from S. nigra (cyanidin 3-glucoside and cyanidin 3-sambubioside are the major pigments). Both species had cyanidin based anthocyanins as major pigments. Previously unreported anthocyanins were identified in some samples analyzed in this study. Trace levels of delphinidin 3-rutinoside were present in all elderberry samples except ‘Korsør’. Also, petunidin 3-rutinoside was detected in ‘Adams 2’, ’Johns’, ‘Scotia’, ‘York’, and ‘Netzer’ (all S. canadensis). The polyphenolics of both species were mainly composed of cinnamic acids and flavonol glycosides (eight polyphenolic compounds). The major polyphenolic compounds present in S. canadensis were neochlorogenic acid, chlorogenic acid, rutin, and isorhamnetin 3-rutinoside; in S. nigra: chlorogenic acid and rutin. Despite the relatively small number of cultivars examined in this study, enough variability was seen among these genotypes to suggest that a successful breeding program could be carried out to improve levels of the various compounds evaluated in this study.