Organ-specific distribution of phenolic compounds in bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) and 'northblue' blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum x V. angustifolium)

Food Chem. 2008 Sep 1;110(1):156-60. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2008.01.057. Epub 2008 Feb 5.


Blueberries and bilberries are recognized as some of the best sources of flavonoids, especially anthocyanins. The contents of flavonoids (anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, flavonols) and hydroxycinnamic acids in the flower, fruit skin and pulp, leaf and rhizome of bilberry and the blueberry cultivar 'Northblue' were analyzed using high-performance liquid chromatography combined with diode-array detection. The most striking difference in the fruits was the predominance of hydroxycinnamic acids in blueberry, whereas in bilberry the anthocyanin content was much higher, particularly in the pulp. Differences in flavonoid contents of fruits were already apparent at the flower stage. Bilberry and blueberry leaves both contained high amounts of proanthocyanidins, flavonols and hydroxycinnamic acids. Blueberry rhizomes accumulated high amounts of hydroxycinnamic acids. All plant parts of bilberry and blueberry are potential sources of phenolic compounds for use either as dietary botanicals or by the pharmaceutical industry.

Keywords: Anthocyanins; Berries; Food analysis; HPLC; Phenolic compounds.