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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Corvallis, Oregon » Horticultural Crops Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #323313

Title: Anthocyanin analyses of Vaccinium fruit dietary supplements

item Lee, Jungmin

Submitted to: Food Science and Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/21/2015
Publication Date: 1/20/2016
Citation: Lee, J. 2016. Anthocyanin analyses of Vaccinium fruit dietary supplements. Food Science and Nutrition. 4:742-752. doi: 10.1002/fsn3.339.

Interpretive Summary: Identification of Vaccinium fruit dietary supplements by anthocyanin fingerprinting was demonstrated. Fruit anthocyanin (natural red pigment) profiles, via high performance liquid chromatography, were used to authenticate dietary supplement ingredients. In several cases adulteration was clearly shown, though in some samples the mixed anthocyanin containing ingredients complicated identification. An example of a product with species adulteration was one bilberry (V. myrtillus) supplement that actually contained Andean blueberry (V. floribundum), and not its labeled ingredient of V. myrtillus. Wide ranges of anthocyanin concentrations were found in the supplements that actually contained the labeled ingredient: from 3.4 (a cranberry tablet) to 3,513 (a bilberry capsule) mg per 100g of sample. Our anthocyanin fingerprinting showed that over 30%, or 14 out of 45, of the Vaccinium fruit products (cranberry, lingonberry, bilberry, and blueberry) purchased as dietary supplements did not contain the fruit claimed to be in the product.

Technical Abstract: Vaccinium fruit ingredients within dietary supplements were identified by comparisons with anthocyanin analyses of known Vaccinium profiles (demonstration of anthocyanin fingerprinting). Available Vaccinium supplements were purchased and analyzed; their anthocyanin profiles (based on HPLC separation) indicated if products’ fruit origin listings were authentic. Over 30% of the Vaccinium fruit (cranberry, lingonberry, bilberry, and blueberry; 14 out of 45) products available as dietary supplements did not contain the fruit listed as ingredients. Six supplements contained no anthocyanins. Five others had contents differing from labeled fruit (e.g., bilberry capsules containing Andean blueberry fruit). Of the samples that did contain the specified fruit (n=27), anthocyanin content ranged from 0.04 to 14.37 mg per (suggested dose) capsule, tablet, or teaspoon (5g). Examples of utilizing anthocyanins to screen for high quality authentic samples, and a discussion of some of the challenges with anthocyanin profiles in quality control are both presented.