Efficient quantification of the health-relevant anthocyanin and phenolic acid profiles in commercial cultivars and breeding selections of blueberries ( Vaccinium spp.)

J Agric Food Chem. 2013 May 22;61(20):4806-15. doi: 10.1021/jf400823s. Epub 2013 May 13.


Anthocyanins and phenolic acids are major secondary metabolites in blueberry with important implications for human health maintenance. An improved protocol was developed for the accurate, efficient, and rapid comparative screening for large blueberry sample sets. Triplicates of six commercial cultivars and four breeding selections were analyzed using the new method. The compound recoveries ranged from 94.2 to 97.5 ± 5.3% when samples were spiked with commercial standards prior to extraction. Eighteen anthocyanins and 4 phenolic acids were quantified in frozen and freeze-dried fruits. Large variations for individual and total anthocyanins, ranging from 201.4 to 402.8 mg/100 g, were assayed in frozen fruits. The total phenolic acid content ranged from 23.6 to 61.7 mg/100 g in frozen fruits. Across all genotypes, freeze-drying resulted in minor reductions in anthocyanin concentration (3.9%) compared to anthocyanins in frozen fruits. However, phenolic acids increased by an average of 1.9-fold (±0.3) in the freeze-dried fruit. Different genotypes frequently had comparable overall levels of total anthocyanins and phenolic acids, but differed dramatically in individual profiles of compounds. Three of the genotypes contained markedly higher concentrations of delphinidin 3-O-glucoside, cyanidin 3-O-glucoside, and malvidin 3-O-glucoside, which have previously been implicated as bioactive principles in this fruit. The implications of these findings for human health benefits are discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anthocyanins / analysis*
  • Blueberry Plants / chemistry*
  • Breeding
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods*
  • Food, Preserved / analysis
  • Frozen Foods / analysis
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Genotype
  • Glucosides / analysis
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Hydroxybenzoates / analysis*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Species Specificity
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods


  • Anthocyanins
  • Glucosides
  • Hydroxybenzoates
  • Plant Extracts
  • cyanidin-3-O-beta-glucopyranoside
  • delphinidin 3-O-glucopyranoside
  • malvidin-3-glucoside
  • phenolic acid