A new spectrometric method ultra performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometric with high precision and rapid analysis was developed to separate 17 phenolic compounds. Different species of cherries, including 10 sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) cultivars, a tart cherry (P. cerasus L.) rootstock (CAB), and a hybrid rootstock 'Colt' (P. avium × P. pseudocerasus), were analyzed for phenolics contents by this method. The results showed that significant differences were observed among the phenolic compound contents in different cherry species. In 10 sweet cherry cultivars, the contents of neochlorogenic acid and cyanidin-3O-rutinoside were much higher in red-colored fruits (for example, 64.60 and 44.50 mg/100 g fresh weight in Burlat, respectively) than those in bicolored ones. Principal component analysis revealed that cyanidin-3O-rutinoside was an effective index for grouping the cultivars with similar species and fruit colors. Moreover, there were strong positive correlations between phenolics content and antioxidant activity, which was higher in red-colored cherries.
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