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The powerful colour of the maqui (Aristotelia chilensis [Mol.] Stuntz) fruit


Over the past 10 years, the research interest on maqui has increased due to the potential health benefits of the fruit, which are largely attributed to the high anthocyanin content and high antioxidant capacity. Furthermore, maqui fruit has earned the name of ‘superfruit’, and several products based on the dehydrated fruit and maqui juice are available on the international market. Although the maqui fruit is not frequently consumed by the Chilean population from urban areas, its use is deeply rooted in rural and native cultures (Mapuche and Huilliche). This review summarises the validation of the traditional uses of maqui and new evidence highlighting the principal role of anthocyanins in the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic activity of maqui fruit. The identification of a particular anthocyanin (delphinidin-3-glucoside-5-sambubioside) in maqui fruit and its anti-diabetic effect in in vivo models, in addition to its presence at higher concentrations in some maqui genotypes, encourages investigation into maqui genotypes that may have higher contents of particular anthocyanins. However, information concerning maqui domestication is still deficient.