Composition of sugars, organic acids, and total phenolics in 25 wild or cultivated berry species

J Food Sci. 2012 Oct;77(10):C1064-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2012.02896.x. Epub 2012 Aug 27.


Sugars, organic acids, and total phenolic content in fruit of 25 wild and cultivated berry species were identified and quantified with high-performance liquid chromatograph. The composition of sugars, organic acids, and total phenolic compounds in various species of Vaccinium, Rubus, Ribes, and Fragaria genus was evaluated. Additonally, total phenolics of less known berry species of the Morus, Amelanchier, Sorbus, Sambucus, Rosa, Lycium, Actinidia, and Aronia genus were determined in wild growing as well as in cultivated fruits. Significant differences in the concentration of sugars and organic acids were detected among the berry species. Glucose and fructose were the most abundant sugars in berry fruits and the major organic acids were malic and citric acid. However, in kiwi fruit, sucrose represented as much as 71.9% of total sugars. Sorbitol has been detected and quantified in chokeberry, rowanberry, and eastern shadbush fruit. The highest content of total analyzed sugars was determined in rowanberry fruit, followed by dog rose, eastern shadbush, hardy kiwifruit, American cranberry, chokeberry, and jostaberry fruit. Rowanberry stands out as the fruit with the highest content of total analyzed organic acids, followed by jostaberry, lingonberry, red gooseberry, hardy kiwifruit, and black currant. The berries of white gooseberry, black currant, red currant, and white currant had the lowest sugar/organic acid ratio and were thus perceptively the sourest species analyzed. On the other hand, the species with highest sugar/organic acid ratio were goji berry, eastern shadbush, black mulberry, and wild grown blackberry. The highest amounts of total phenols were quantified in chokeberry fruit. Wild strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry had 2- to 5-fold more total phenolics compared to cultivated plants.

Practical application: The fruit of analyzed berry species contained different levels of sugars, organic acids, and total phenolics. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that wild grown species generally contain more phenolics than cultivated ones. This information is interesting for nutritionists as well as berry growers and breeders who can promote the cultivation of species and new cultivars with higher phenolic content.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actinidia / chemistry
  • Carbohydrates / analysis*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Citric Acid / analysis
  • Fragaria / chemistry
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Fumarates / analysis
  • Malates / analysis
  • Phenols / analysis*
  • Photinia / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / analysis*
  • Ribes / chemistry
  • Rosaceae / chemistry
  • Sambucus / chemistry
  • Shikimic Acid / analysis
  • Sorbus / chemistry
  • Tartrates / analysis
  • Vaccinium macrocarpon / chemistry


  • Carbohydrates
  • Fumarates
  • Malates
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Tartrates
  • Citric Acid
  • Shikimic Acid
  • malic acid
  • fumaric acid
  • tartaric acid