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Blueberry leaves exhibit greater antioxidant properties than berries

Antioxidant capacity, as measured by oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), and total phenolic and total anthocyanin contents were evaluated in fruit tissues of 87 highbush blueberry (Vacciniumcorymbosum L.) and species-introgressed highbush blueberry cultivars. ORAC and phenolic levels were evaluated in leaf tissues of the same materials. Average values for ORAC, phenolics, and anthocyanins in fruit were 15.9 ORAC units, 1.79 mg/g (gallic acid equivalents), and 0.95 mg/g (cyanidin-3-glucoside equivalents), respectively. Cv. Rubel had the highest ORAC per gram of fresh weight values, at 31.1 units, and cv. Elliott had the highest values on the basis of ORAC per square centimeter of surface area.

In leaf tissue, values for both ORAC and phenolics were significantly higher than in fruit tissue, with mean values of 490 ORAC units and 44.80 mg/g (gallic acid equivalents), respectively.

Leaf ORAC had a low, but significant, correlation with fruit phenolics and anthocyanins, but not with fruit ORAC. An analysis of ORAC values versus calculated midparent values in 11 plants from the 87-cultivar group in which all parents were tested suggested that, across cultivars, ORAC inheritance is additive. An investigation of ORAC values in a family of 44 cv. Rubel x Duke seedlings showed negative epistasis for ORAC values, suggesting Rubel may have gene combinations contributing to ORAC that are broken up during hybridization.


Ehlenfeldt MK, Prior RL. Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) and phenolic and anthocyanin concentrations in fruit and leaf tissues of highbush blueberry. J Agric Food Chem. 2001 May;49(5):2222-7.


Key concepts: Antioxidant, ORAC, blueberry