Effect of Extracts of Bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) on Amyloglucosidase and α-Glucosidase Activity

Folia Med (Plovdiv). 2017 Jun 1;59(2):197-202. doi: 10.1515/folmed-2017-0028.


Background: Vaccinium myrtillus L. is a species belonging to the genus Vaccinium of the family Ericaceae. Bilberries have drawn attention due to the multiple benefits for the human health, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, anti-neurodegenerative, and cardioprotective effects. Recently, bilberries were shown to inhibit the activity of carbohydrate-hydrolysing enzymes that can help reduce the intensity of the metabolic syndrome and prevent type 2 diabetes.

Aim: In this study, we investigated the α-glucosidase and amyloglucosidase inhibitory activities of polyphenol-rich extracts from fruit of Vaccinium myrtillus L. from different regions in Bulgaria.

Materials and methods: The total phenolic content was determined spectrophotometrically using the Folin-Ciocalteu method. With HPLC analysis, phenolic acid composition of extracts was assessed. Enzymatic inhibitory activities were determined according to the methodology by Borooah et al. (1961), and Dewi et al. (2007). Amyloglucosidase assay and α-glucosidase assay were used to measure the inhibition potential of bilberries' extracts.

Results: Phenolic compound content ranged from 1299.60 mg to 510.88 mg GAE/100 g for organic extracts and from 453.63 mg to 290.83 mg GAE/100 g for aqueous extracts. Based on qualitative HPLC analyses, gallic acid and chlorogenic acid were found to be among the major phenolic acids present in bilberries. Methanol and aqueous extracts there were found to be effective inhibitors of α-glucosidase with an IC50 value of 20 μg GAE/ml and 55 μg GAE/ml, respectively.

Conclusion: The inhibitory activity of bilberries' extracts towards α-glucosidase offers the patients with type 2 diabetes the opportunity to manage their own glycaemic levels with a diet.

Keywords: Vaccinium myrtillus L.; amyloglucosidase and α-glucosidase; polyphenol content.

MeSH terms

  • Anthocyanins / pharmacology*
  • Bulgaria
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Vaccinium myrtillus*
  • alpha-Glucosidases / drug effects*
  • alpha-Glucosidases / metabolism


  • Anthocyanins
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Vaccinium myrtillus extract
  • alpha-Glucosidases