Blueberries and Their Anthocyanins: Factors Affecting Biosynthesis and Properties



Abstract:  Blueberry is one of the most popular fruits in North America and rich in anthocyanins. Its content in anthocyanins contributes to the health-beneficial effects of blueberry against several chronic diseases including cardiovascular disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, and cancer. This paper summarizes various facts presenting blueberry as a fruit with huge potential for increased future consumption as a health-enhancing food. Factors affecting the biosynthesis of the various anthocyanins in blueberries, including agronomic and genetic factors, and the possible pathways of biosynthesis of the major anthocyanins present in this plant are discussed. The important health-beneficial effects associated with blueberry anthocyanins, properties of these anthocyanins leading to the beneficial effects, and food processing parameters leading to the depletion of the amounts of anthocyanins present in the final processed products are also briefly discussed. Furthermore, the general methods of extraction and analyses that have been reported for being successfully applied to blueberry anthocyanins are also reviewed.

Practical Application:  Blueberries are well known for their nutritional and beneficial health effects, however, information concerning the physiology behind the blueberry beneficial effects is still lacking. There is little or no information on the characterization of growing conditions on anthocyanins in blueberries and research is lagging behind on advanced methods of extracting blueberry anthocyanins.