The anthocyanin composition of different Vaccinium, Ribes and Rubus genotypes

Biofactors. 2008;34(1):13-21. doi: 10.1002/biof.5520340103.


Anthocyanins, which give berryfruit their characteristic colour, have attracted the interest of researchers because of their putative health benefits. Over the past eight years, HortResearch has been analysing the anthocyanin content of numerous samples of different species of Vaccinium, Rubus and also Ribes nigrum. These samples were taken from different genotypes held in germplasm collections, cultivar and advanced selection trials, genetic studies and seedling populations. Averaged over all samples, Ribes had higher total anthocyanin contents (total ACY) than Vaccinium which was, in turn, higher than Rubus. However, all genera provided rich sources of anthocyanins and individual crop types within genera varied considerably. Five percent (i.e., 223) of our samples had total ACY of more than 5000 microg/g: most of these were blackcurrants, but some were black raspberries and three were ornamental blueberries. Vaccinium species generally contained the most diverse range of individual anthocyanins. In contrast, Ribes nigrum samples were dominated by cyanidin and delphinidin rutinosides which, on average, comprised almost 80% of the total ACY. For Rubus species almost all anthocyanins were cyanidins, although which ones were more prevalent varied with the species. The high degree of variation in total ACY and individual anthocyanin contents reported herein, coupled with the moderate to high heritabilities reported in the literature, indicate that good progress could be made in breeding cultivars with still higher total ACY levels.

MeSH terms

  • Anthocyanins / analysis*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Fruit / classification
  • Genotype
  • Ribes / chemistry*
  • Rosaceae / chemistry*
  • Rosaceae / classification
  • Species Specificity
  • Vaccinium / chemistry*
  • Vaccinium / classification


  • Anthocyanins