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A comparison of fruit characteristics among diverse elderberry genotypes grown in Missouri and Oregon


BACKGROUND: Elderberry (Sambucus spp.) fruit are used for food and dietary supplements in Europe and North America, and contain large amounts of cyanidin-based anthocyanins and other phenolics that may benefit human health. OBJECTIVES: Information on the effect of both genotype and production environment on elderberry juice characteristics is needed in order to optimize production of quality food and dietary supplements. METHODS: The characteristics of elderberry fruits relative to genetic and production environment were evaluated from 12 American elderberry genotypes at three U.S. sites (two in Missouri and one in Oregon) over three growing seasons. Additional genotypes of American and European elderberry were studied at the Oregon site. RESULTS: Location, genotype, and growing season influenced pH, soluble solids, titratable acidity, total phenolics, and total anthocyanins. Elderberries grown in Oregon were consistently higher in acidity than those grown in Missouri. Differences in acidity and anthocyanin with environment were dependent on genotype. Non-acylated anthocyanins and flavonol-glycosides were more influenced by location than by genotype. CONCLUSION: ‘Bob Gordon’ and ‘Adams 2’ genotypes, which are good producers in diverse environments, were significantly higher in total phenolic and total anthocyanin contents in all locations, and may be good selections for producing juices, wines, or health products.