Fresh strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa Duch.), raspberries (Rubus idaeus Michx.), highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum L.), and lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium Aiton) were stored at 0, 10, 20, and 30 degrees C for up to 8 days to determine the effects of storage temperature on whole fruit antioxidant capacity (as measured by the oxygen radical absorbing capacity assay, Cao et al., Clin. Chem. 1995, 41, 1738-1744) and total phenolic, anthocyanin, and ascorbate content. The four fruit varied markedly in their total antioxidant capacity, and antioxidant capacity was strongly correlated with the content of total phenolics (0.83) and anthocyanins (0.90). The antioxidant capacity of the two blueberry species was about 3-fold higher than either strawberries or raspberries. However, there was an increase in the antioxidant capacity of strawberries and raspberries during storage at temperatures >0 degrees C, which was accompanied by increases in anthocyanins in strawberries and increases in anthocyanins and total phenolics in raspberries. Ascorbate content differed more than 5-fold among the four fruit species; on average, strawberries and raspberries had almost 4-times more ascorbate than highbush and lowbush blueberries. There were no ascorbate losses in strawberries or highbush blueberries during 8 days of storage at the various temperatures, but there were losses in the other two fruit species. Ascorbate made only a small contribution (0.4-9.4%) to the total antioxidant capacity of the fruit. The increase observed in antioxidant capacity through postharvest phenolic synthesis and metabolism suggested that commercially feasible technologies may be developed to enhance the health functionality of small fruit crops.