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Phenolic Acids of the Two Major Blueberry Species in the US Market and Their Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Activities


Highbush (cultivated) and lowbush (wild) are the two major blueberry species in the US market. Eight phenolic acids were detected and quantified from these two species by HPLC-MS. Chlorogenic acid was found to be the predominant phenolic acid in both species, with 0.44 mg/g fresh weight in lowbush blueberries and 0.13 mg/g fresh weight in highbush blueberries. Total phenolic content in lowbush blueberries is over three times higher than that of highbush blueberries. The phenolic acid mixtures representing those in the two species were prepared by using authentic standards to assess their contribution to total antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of the whole berries. Neither lowbush nor highbush blueberry phenolic acid mixture contributed significantly to the total antioxidant capacity of their relevant whole berries measured by oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC). Both phenolic acid mixtures were able to enter the cell and showed in cell antioxidant activities from the cell based antioxidant protection of erythrocytes (CAP-e) assay. Lowbush blueberry phenolic acid mixture was found to show anti-inflammatory activities by inhibiting the nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activation and the production of inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α and IL-6) at the high dose.

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The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Xianli Wu.

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This study was supported by USDA (6251-51000-005-02S).

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Kang, J., Thakali, K.M., Jensen, G.S. et al. Phenolic Acids of the Two Major Blueberry Species in the US Market and Their Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Activities. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 70, 56–62 (2015).

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  • Anti-inflammation
  • Antioxidant
  • Blueberries
  • Phenolic acid