December 22, 2023

Blueberries: Rich Antioxidant Source

Polyphenols or phenolic compounds emerge as secondary metabolites in the shikimic acid pathway of plants and pentose phosphate via phenylpropanoid metabolization. Comprising benzene rings adorned with one or more hydroxyl substituents, they range from straightforward phenolic molecules to intricately polymerized compounds.

These compounds are recognized for their vital antioxidant properties and showcase various activities, such as antiglycemic, antiviral, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, and antimicrobial effects. Plant phenolics assume a crucial role as defense mechanisms against environmental stresses, such as high light, low temperatures, pathogen infections, herbivores, and nutrient deficiencies, which can instigate an elevated production of free radicals and oxidative species in plants.

Blueberries, often dubbed the "longevity fruit," are celebrated for their significant antioxidant capacity against free radicals and reactive species. They stand out as one of the most abundant sources of antioxidants among fruits and vegetables. Recent research has unveiled additional health benefits unrelated to antioxidants, including a reduced incidence of major modern diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.

The blueberry plant hosts a diverse array of antioxidant and antimicrobial molecules, specifically polyphenol compounds, spanning a broad spectrum of anthocyanins. Among various fruits and vegetables, blueberries boast the highest total phenolic content (TPC, 9.44 mg gallic acid/g DW), total flavonoid content (TFC, 36.08 mg rutin/g DW), and total anthocyanidin content (TAC, 24.38 mg catechin/g DW).

Blueberries are extensively documented for their abundance in phenolics, encompassing ellagic, gallic, ferulic, catechin, chlorogenic, and quercetin. Notably, catechin, a crucial phytochemical within flavonoids, is particularly prevalent in these fruits.

The genesis and accrual of bioactive compounds in fruits are subject to influences like genotype, environmental conditions, ripeness, and storage. Additionally, phenolic compounds prove highly responsive to environmental stress, leading to rapid alterations in their content under such influences.

Studies indicate that blueberry leaves harbor a significantly higher concentration of polyphenols compared to the fruits. However, fresh green leaves do not contain anthocyanins.
Blueberries: Rich Antioxidant Source

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