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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Corvallis, Oregon » Horticultural Crops Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #317115

Title: Analysis of bokbunja products show they contain Rubus occidentalis L. fruit

item Lee, Jungmin

Submitted to: Journal of Functional Foods
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/12/2014
Publication Date: 1/30/2015
Publication URL:
Citation: Lee, J. 2015. Analysis of bokbunja products show they contain Rubus occidentalis L. fruit. Journal of Functional Foods. 12:144-149.

Interpretive Summary: Native Korean black raspberry, traditionally called bokbunja (Rubus coreanus Miquel), foods and supplements are increasing in popularity in South Korea and the US. But much of the information and research finding about bokbunja are confusing due to inaccurate representation, and studies that were based on incorrect species identifications. It is unclear how or when misinformation regarding bokbunja species started in Korea. This is the first report concerning species adulteration to examine bokbunja products available in the marketplace. The majority of the samples analyzed were actually made from R. occidentalis L. fruit. These two species can be distinguished from their pigment profiles. Three products examined contained no fruit anthocyanins, and were adulterated with black carrot pigments for appearance. This research will aid bokbunja growers, processors, and researchers in reporting the correct Rubus species to prevent adulteration and confusion in the scientific literature. This project was partially funded by a Specialty Crop Research Initiative grant from USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Technical Abstract: This is the first report of species adulteration in a collection of commercially available bokbunja (Rubus coreanus Miquel) products sold in Korea and the US (all originated from Korea). Seventeen bokbunja products were obtained for examination, though twelve samples contained R. occidentalis L. fruit; the two species are clearly distinguishable by their anthocyanin profiles. Seven of 17 products were labeled in English to contain R. coreanus fruit; five of these samples contained R. occidentalis and two contained black carrot anthocyanins. The ten other products described contents as bokbunja (in either Korean or English). For two of the 17 products, species classification could not be made due to low anthocyanin present (possible degradation or low concentration), while three of the 17 were adulterated with black carrot anthocyanins and contained no fruit anthocyanins. Anthocyanins ranging from 0.8 to 56.9 mg/100mL, a 71-fold difference, for all samples. We are hopeful that this research will aid bokbunja growers, processors, and researchers in creating, reporting, and marketing accurately labeled improved foods.