Comparative study of primary and secondary metabolites in apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) cultivars

J Sci Food Agric. 2011 Mar 30;91(5):860-6. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.4257.


Background: Apricot is one of the most popular Prunus species grown in the temperate zone and great variation in the contents of primary and secondary metabolites has been reported in its fruit. However, little is known on the phenolic profiles and antioxidant potential of important local cultivars. The objective of the study was to identify valuable parental lines for breeding of cultivars with high health-promoting effects.

Results: Primary metabolites (sugars, organic acids) and secondary metabolites (phenolics) were quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (HPLC/MS) in fruit of 13 apricot cultivars: total sugars ranged from 59.2 to 212.5 g kg(-1) fresh weight (FW) and total organic acids from 4.2 to 20.8 g kg(-1) FW. Four hydroxycinnamic acids and three flavonols were quantified; their content was significantly higher in skin compared to pulp. Similarly, antioxidative potential was significantly higher in skin and ranged from 125.4 to 726.5 mg ascorbic acid equivalents kg(-1) FW. A positive correlation between total phenolic content and antioxidant potential was determined. Multivariate analysis subdivided the cultivars into five major groups, mostly influenced by the content of individual and total phenolics as well as the antioxidant potential of apricot skin and pulp.

Conclusion: In regard to high phenolic content in connection with antioxidant potential, three cultivars stand out as the richest in analyzed quality parameters: 'Mula Sadik', 'Bergeron' and 'Chuan Zhi Hong'. They also contained high amounts of primary metabolites and should be promoted for further planting and included in apricot breeding programs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acids / analysis*
  • Antioxidants / analysis*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Coumaric Acids / analysis
  • Dietary Sucrose / metabolism*
  • Flavonoids / analysis*
  • Flavonols / analysis
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Fruit / metabolism*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Phenols / analysis*
  • Polyphenols
  • Prunus / chemistry
  • Prunus / metabolism*
  • Species Specificity


  • Acids
  • Antioxidants
  • Coumaric Acids
  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Flavonoids
  • Flavonols
  • Phenols
  • Polyphenols