European Food Research and Technology

, Volume 245, Issue 2, pp 469–478 | Cite as

Nutraceutical properties and phytochemical characterization of wild Serbian fruits

  • Maja Natić
  • Aleksandra Pavlović
  • Fabrizia Lo Bosco
  • Nemanja Stanisavljević
  • Dragana Dabić Zagorac
  • Milica Fotirić Akšić
  • Adele Papetti
Original Paper


Wild fruits grown in Serbia, i.e., elderberry (Sambucus nigra), hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), cornelian cherry (Cornus mas), and blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), are rich in secondary metabolites. In this study, the polyphenolic composition of wild fruit extracts and their antioxidant capacity were investigated by in vitro assays. Elderberry was characterized by the presence of arbutin (a skin protector), and cornelian cherry by syringic and gallic acids. In blackthorn, at least 11 different phenolic compounds were reported for the first time, including vanillic acid and naringin, the metabolite present in the highest amount. Blackthorn extracts were the richest in polyphenols (11.24–18.70 g GAE/kg FW) and had the highest activity in the DPPH radical test (180.93–267.11 mMTE/mL), while cornelian cherry extracts showed the most effective ferric ion chelating (81.37–90.66%) and antityrosinase inhibition capacities (21.75–74.23%). No sample was able to scavenge NO. Using the principal component analysis, wild fruit samples were classified into four separate clusters due to distinctive phenolic profiles and antioxidant capacity. Our investigation showed how every fruit could be considered unique in terms of its phytonutrient content. Thus, Serbian wild fruits may be a great source of bioactive natural compounds and could be therefore considered particularly useful in food supplement production. Particularly, as a source of natural antioxidants, these species could be used to extend the shelf life of food products and replace synthetic antioxidants, avoiding potential health risks and toxicity.


Wild Serbian fruits UHPLC–DAD–HESI–MS/MS Phenolic profile Antioxidant potential Functional foods 



This work was supported by the Serbian Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development (Projects 172017 and TR 31063). Partly, the research was supported by the CICOPS scholarship foreseen for research collaboration at the University of Pavia. The authors thank Prof. Milanese for her help in English revision.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Compliance with ethics requirements

This article does not contain any studies with animal or human subjects.

Supplementary material

217_2018_3178_MOESM1_ESM.docx (23 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 22 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of ChemistryUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
  2. 2.Biophysics InstituteNational Research CouncilPalermoItaly
  3. 3.Institute of Molecular Genetics and Genetic EngineeringUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
  4. 4.Innovation CentreUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
  5. 5.Faculty of AgricultureUniversity of BelgradeZemunSerbia
  6. 6.Department of Drug SciencesUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly

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