The demand for new fruit cultivars with high levels of phytochemicals, in particular phenolic compounds, has received increasing attention from biochemists, pharmaceutical companies, plant breeders, and the general public due to their health benefits. This review focuses on the economically important Rosaceae, which contains varying proportions and concentrations of these compounds. The paper discusses the common phenolics in the Rosaceae including phenolic acids, flavonols, flavanols, anthocyanins, and dihydrochalcones. The nonextractable phenolics are also presented but not discussed in detail. The metabolism and bioavailability of phenolics, as well as human and environmental factors that affect their concentration and composition, are highlighted. Furthermore, the paper presents different approaches for biofortification and posits that breeding may be the most viable and sustainable option as it improves other fruit quality traits simultaneously and increases confidence in adoption of new cultivars with enhanced consumer appeal.
Keywords: Rosaceae; anthocyanins; bioavailability; biofortification; dihydrochalcones; environmental influence; flavanols; flavonoids; metabolism; nonextractable phenolics (NEPP); phenolic acids.