Submitted to: International Journal of Food Science and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/21/2012
Publication Date: 5/24/2012
Citation: Wang, S.Y., Chen, H., Camp, M.J., Ehlenfeldt, M.K. 2012. Gentotype and growing season influence blueberry antioxidant capacity and other quality attributes. International Journal of Food Science and Technology. 47:1540-1549.
Interpretive Summary: Consumption of fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidant compounds is associated with improved human health. One of our goals was to develop blueberries with enhanced antioxidant content and other fruit quality attributes such as sugars and acids. In order to select the best candidates for use as parents in the breeding program, we first characterized the variation in antioxidant content among 42 diverse blueberry cultivars over two growing seasons. We found that there was great variation in antioxidants, sugars and acid content among these cultivars. Several rabbiteye type blueberries had the highest antioxidants with acceptability high fruit quality. Characterization of these cultivars will enable their use in blueberry breeding programs to develop improved cultivars with both high antioxidant content and high fruit quality. This information is useful to blueberry breeders and growers, the blueberry industry, and consumers.
Technical Abstract: Forty-two blueberry cultivars (thirty-six Vaccinium ashei, three Vaccinium ashei derivative hybrids, and three northern highbush standards) were evaluated for their antioxidant capacities and other fruit quality attributes over two growing seasons. Total anthocyanins, phenolic content, and antioxidant capacities varied substantially among species and cultivars. ‘Early May’ (V. ashei) had the highest amounts of anthocyanins, phenolics, and antioxidant capacity. Cultivars from V. ashei hybrid derivatives had lower mean antioxidant components than those from northern highbush standards or V. ashei. The antioxidant capacity, as well as total anthocyanins and phenolics, had significant cultivar × year interactions, but were also significantly different between seasons. Similar interactions were observed for soluble solids content (SSC), sugar, titratable acid (TA), and organic acids among cultivars both within and across the growing seasons. Fructose and glucose were detected as two major sugars with sucrose as a minor constituent. ‘Clara’ contained the highest amounts of SSC and sugars, while ‘Satilla’ had the lowest. In general, V. ashei cultivars had a higher mean SSC and sugar contents than did the hybrid derivatives or the northern highbush standards. Cultivars of V. ashei contained higher malic acid than citric acid, whereas in hybrid derivatives and northern highbush cultivars citric acid was the predominant organic acid. The diversity in the amount of these fruit quality attributes and antioxidant capacities presents a great opportunity for genetic improvement of blueberries through breeding programs. Blueberry cultivars with high antioxidant activity and good fruit quality can possibly be used as parents for future blueberry breeding programs to develop new cultivars with higher antioxidant activity.