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Doctoral thesis, 2012

Pre-harvest factors affecting quality and shelf-life in raspberries and blackberries (Rubus spp. L.)

Ali, Liaqat


Fruit including berries have been demonstrated to exhibit a broad spectrum of benefits including protection against cardiovascular, neurological, and lung diseases, as well as having antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti- diabetic and anti-aging properties. These protective effects are reported to be due to their high content of bioactive compounds, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, phenolic acids, ellagitannins, flavonoids and carotenoids. This thesis investigated the effect of pre- and postharvest factors on the concentrations of bioactive compounds in raspberries and blackberries. The factors studied included genetic variability, organic and synthetic fertilizers, seasonal variation (harvest-to-harvest and annual variation) in greenhouse, high tunnel and open field production, and post-harvest storage. Concentrations of bioactive compounds (anthocyanins, vitamin C, ellagic acid, carotenoids) in the berries, or in the leaves, were quantitatively analysed by high-performance liquid chromatography, and total phenolics were analysed by a spectrophotometric method. Generative parameters (yield, fruit size) investigated for the cultivar difference and organic nitrogen, responded differently to the nitrogen level within cultivars and varied significantly in primocane raspberries. Taste compounds, such as total acidity and different sugars, varied during the season and with nutrient regimes. Time of harvest also affected the ellagic acid content, which was high in early season, and the vitamin C content, which was high in late season in primocane raspberries. Significant changes were also found between different years. Vitamin C decreased significantly with high synthetic N and with low K application, but the application of high N with high K showed positive influence in the level of nutrients and bioactive compounds in blackberries except for ellagic acid. Increased level of organic fertilization (12-17 g N/plant) in primocane raspberries caused only minor changes in the analysed compounds. The post-harvest performance of raspberries regarding the levels of bioactive compounds was less dynamic than in blackberries. In addition, raspberries harvested in late season showed comparatively less changes in sugar content during storage as compared to early harvest, indicating less enzymatic activity in the late season.


anthocyanins ; antioxidants ; cultural regime ; flavonoids ; fructose ; glucose; post-harvest storage ; seasonal influence ; sucrose; vitamin C

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2012, number: 2012:58
ISBN: 978-91-576-7705-1
Publisher: Department of Horticulture, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    SLU Authors

    • Ali, Liaqat

      • Horticulture, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Soil Science
    Agricultural Science
    Food Science

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