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Blueberry and cranberry fruit composition during development


Compositional changes that occur during fruit development affect both the organoleptic and nutritional quality of small fruit. Compositional changes in blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L) and cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Aiton) fruit were determined at 3 maturities (white, turning and fully colored) during 2 seasons by analyzing sugar, acid, total phenolic, and total anthocyanin composition, ORAC antioxidant capacity, and fruit firmness. In blueberry fruit, the primary sugars were glucose and fructose, which increased as fruit ripened. Citric acid comprised 77 to 87% of the organic acids in blueberry fruit. In addition, quinic and malic acids comprised 4 to 11% of total acids and small amounts of succinic, tartaric, and shikimic acids were present. Total acids declined 68% during fruit ripening. Total phenolics were greatest in white fruit and anthocyanins were greatest in blue fruit. Antioxidant capacity declined as fruit ripened from white to turning. Fruit firmness decreased about 80% as fruit ripened. In cranberry fruit, sugar concentration increased slightly as fruit ripened with glucose comprising about 80% of the total sugars. Acid content decreased 22% during ripening primarily due to a decline in citric acid. Quinic and malic acids increased slightly during ripening. Total anthocyanins increased as color developed, while total phenolics and antioxidant capacity remained relatively constant. In contrast to blueberries, red cranberry fruit were firmer than white or turning fruit.