Background: Consumer demand for products rich in phytochemicals is increasing as a result of greater awareness of their potential health benefits. However, processed products are stored for long-term and the phytochemicals are susceptible to degradation during storage. The objective of this study was to assess the storage effects on phytochemicals in thermally processed blueberries. Thermally processed canned berries and juice/puree were analysed for phytochemicals during their long-term storage.
Results: The phytochemical retention of thermally processed blueberries during storage was not influenced by production system (conventional versus organic). During 13 months of storage, total anthocyanins, total phenolics and total antioxidant activity in canned blueberry solids decreased by up to 86, 69 and 52% respectively. In canned blueberry syrup, total anthocyanins and total antioxidant activity decreased by up to 68 and 15% respectively, while total phenolic content increased by up to 117%. Similar trends in phytochemical content were observed in juice/puree stored for 4 months. The extent of changes in phytochemicals of thermally processed blueberries during storage was significantly influenced by blanching.
Conclusion: Long-term storage of thermally processed blueberries had varying degrees of influence on degradation of total anthocyanins, total phenolics and total antioxidant activity. Blanching before thermal processing helped to preserve the phytochemicals during storage of blueberries.
Copyright © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry.