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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2009

Effects of Sampling Time and Nitrogen Fertilization on Anthocyanidin Levels in Vaccinium myrtillus Fruits

Akerstrom, Andreas; Forsum, Asa; Rumpunen, Kimmo; Jaderlund, Anders; Bang, Ulla


Vaccinium myrtillus berries (bilberries) contain antioxidants, in particular anthocyanins, which are secondary metabolites that have proven health-promoting effects. Bilberries were collected at the Svartberget research forest in northern Sweden from plots with no, low, and high applications of NH(4)NO(3) on three replicated dates in each year from 2005-2007, and their anthocyanidin contents were analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography. Their mean total anthocyanidin contents Were 9.0, 6.2, and 22.7 mg/g DW in 2005, 2006, and 2007, respectively. The values were significantly higher in 2005 than in 2006 and significantly higher in 2007 than in both previous years, across all three sampling dates. In addition, anthocyanidin contents were significantly affected by sampling date in all years (P < 0.001); they were linearly correlated with the thermal sum in 2005 and 2007 but rose between the first and second sampling occasions and subsequently declined in 2006. No significant effect of nitrogen fertilization on total anthocyanidin levels was detected in any of the studied years. The results indicate that climatic factors and yearly fluctuations influence anthocyanidin biosynthesis and degradation more strongly than nitrogen availability. To our knowledge, this is the first time this effect of sampling time on anthocyanins in mature bilberries has been shown.

Published in

Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
2009, Volume: 57, number: 8, pages: 3340-3345
Publisher: American Chemical Society

      SLU Authors

    • Åkerström, Andreas

      • Department of Agricultural Research for Northern Sweden, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences