An approach towards rapid optical measurements of antioxidant activity in blueberry cultivars

S. F. Remberg, A.-B. Wold, K. Kvaal, M. Appelgren, K. Haffner
2012 Journal of Applied Botany and Food Quality  
Blueberries are well known for their high antioxidant levels. Compared to bilberries (V. myrtillus) with higher antioxidant activity and more intensive blue colour throughout the whole berry, highbush blueberries have the blue pigments concentrated in the skin. Highbush blueberry skin is found to contain a very high content of phenolic compounds. To measure the total antioxidant activity in blueberries, several methods, mostly destructive, including the FRAP assay, have been used. This work is
more » ... n initial approach towards a simple and rapid method, combining optical and antioxidant activity measurements. Highbush blueberry (V. corymbosum) cultivars 'Bluecrop', 'Hardyblue', 'Patriot', and lowbush cultivars 'Putte' (a hybrid originated from V. angustifolium) and 'Aron' (V. corymbosum x V. uliginosum) were grown at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (59º 40'N). Berries were harvested at commercial blue-ripe stage of maturity. Fresh berries were cut horizontally and placed on a scanner in order to examine berry size and skin thickness. Berries were weighed, and analysed for antioxidant activity using the FRAP (Ferric Reducing Ability of Plasma) assay. The FRAP assay is a non-specific method based on absorption changes following a reduction of a ferric- to a ferrous-complex in the presence of antioxidants. Own previous results have shown that antioxidant activity and berry weight varied between cultivars (REMBERG et al., 2003). Small berries had higher antioxidant activity compared to larger berries. In this follow-up project, skin thickness and berry diameter were measured by using an image- processing program. Berry and skin cross-section areas were correlated with the antioxidant activity.
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