The aim of this study was to evaluate Andean blueberries (Vaccinium floribundum Kunth) from Ecuador as a potential functional ingredient for the food and pharmaceutical industries. The analysis of bioactive compounds by HPLC-DAD-MSn determined a high content of (poly)phenols, mainly anthocyanins, and the presence of the carotenoid lutein. Regarding its biological properties, Andean blueberry did not show toxicity by the zebrafish embryogenesis test, showing also a lack of the antinutrients lectins. Moreover, the results of in vitro and in vivo antioxidant capacity evaluation suggested its possibility to be used as natural antioxidant. This fruit also exhibited antimicrobial activity toward Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli in low doses. Finally, in vitro gastrointestinal (GI) digestion showed a partial bioaccessibility of (poly) phenols (~50% at the final step), showing high antioxidant capacity in the different GI phases. These results revealed Andean blueberry as an interesting candidate for being used as a functional ingredient and the development of further in vivo and clinical assays.
Keywords: HPLC–MS/MS; Vaccinium floribundum; anthocyanins; antimicrobial; antioxidant; mortiño; toxicity; zebrafish.