Over 20 Years of Health Research

Since 1997, the Wild Blueberry Association of North America (WBANA) has been collaborating with elite scientists to help study the health benefits of wild blueberries. WBANA is dedicated to furthering research that explores the health potential of wild blueberries and annually funds research studies that help advance the understanding of the nutritional and human health benefits of wild blueberries.

Each year, WBANA has hosts the Wild Blueberry Health Research Summit in Bar Harbor, Maine, a worldwide gathering of renowned scientists and researchers from leading institutions representing broad disciplines — from cardiovascular health to cancer to heart disease, osteoporosis, neurological diseases of aging, and more. Their work is leading the way to learn more about the health benefits of wild blueberries, and their findings, which use rigorous methodology, are documented in a growing number of published studies on the potential health and disease-fighting benefits of wild blueberries. All published research studies are written by and submitted to peer-reviewed journals by the researcher, independent of WBANA.

Below are scientific research papers that provide more detail into the role wild blueberries may play in promoting human health.

Effect of allyl isothiocyanate on antioxidants and fruit decay of blueberries

Shiow, Y. Wang; Chi-Tsun, Chen; Jun-Jie, Yin
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The effect of allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) on radical scavenging capacity, and fruit decay of blueberries var. Duke (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) was evaluated. Results from this study showed that AITC was effective in retarding blueberry decay during storage at 10°C. However, AITC-treated fruit decreased the contents of total phenolics and anthocyanins. Compared to control, AITC-treated berries had lower scavenging capacities against radicals of oxygen radical absorbance capacity (pyroxyl radical; ORAC), hydroxyl radical scavenging capacity (


Thermal degradation of anthocyanins in blueberry fruit

Scibisz, I.; Kalisz, S.; Mitek, M.
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Bars with blueberries are bars with benefits

Payne, T. J.
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Phenolic contents of lettuce, strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry crops cultivated under plastic films varying in ultraviolet transparency [electronic resource]

Ordidge, Matthew; Lovegrove, Julie A.; John, Philip; Wagstaffe, Alexandra; Vysini, Eleni; Battey, Nicholas H.; Garc©Ưa-Mac©Ưas, Paulina; Hadley, Paul; Gordon, Michael H.
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The levels of health-related phytochemicals were determined in lettuce leaf and in strawberry, raspberry and blueberry fruits grown in near-commercial conditions under plastic films of three different UV transparencies. In the red lettuce Lollo Rosso, total phenolics, anthocyanin, luteolin and quercetin levels were all raised by changing from a UV blocking film to a film of low UV transparency, and to a film of high UV transparency. The related green lettuce, Lollo Biondo, cultivated under the same conditions, showed virtually no phytochemical responses to the same variation in UV levels. Overall, the phenolic levels of strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries were unresponsive to the UV transparency of the plastic film under which the crops were grown. The significance of these findings is discussed in relation to the nutritional quality of soft fruit and salad crops which are increasingly being grown commercially under plastic tunnels.


Cooked Blueberries: Anthocyanin and Anthocyanidin Degradation and Their Radical-Scavenging Activity

Oliveira, C.; Amaro, L. F.; Pinho, O.; Ferreira, I. M.
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This study examined anthocyanin and anthocyanidin composition and radical-scavenging activity of three cultivars of blueberries ( Vaccinium corymbosum L., cv. Bluecrop, Bluetravel, and Ozarkblue) before and after cooking. A total of 13 anthocyanins were separated and monitored in methanolic extracts of raw fruits by high-performance liquid chromatography/diode array detector (HPLC/DAD). Principal component analysis using the anthocyanin profile as variables revealed differences according to cultivar origin. Of the six common anthocyanidins, four were identified and quantified in the hydrolysates, namely, malvidin, the most abundant, followed by cyanidin, petunidin, and delphynidin. A systematic evaluation of the degradation of anthocyanins and anthocyanidins of blueberries cooked in stuffed fish was performed. The percentage of anthocyanin degradation in cooked blueberries (by progressive heating from 12 to 99 degrees C for 60 min) ranged between 16 and 30% for Bluecrop, 30-42% for Bluetravel, and 12-41% for Ozarkblue. However, cooked blueberries maintained or increased radical-scavenging activity when evaluated by the 1,1′-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) method. Overall, results show that cooked blueberries can serve as a good source of bioactive phytochemicals.


Effect of Air Temperature on Drying Kinetics, Vitamin C, Antioxidant Activity, Total Phenolic Content, Non-enzymatic Browning and Firmness of Blueberries Variety O”Neil

Lopez, Jessica; Vergara, Judith; Gonzalez, Eduardo; Di Scala, Karina; Uribe, Elsa; Vega-G©Łlvez, Antonio; Miranda, Margarita
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Effect of air temperature on drying kinetics, vitamin C, antioxidant capacity, total phenolic content (TPC), colour due to non-enzymatic browning (NEB) and firmness during drying of blueberries was studied. Drying curves were satisfactorily simulated with the Weibull model at 50, 60, 70, 80 and 90℗’C. The scale parameter (Îø) decreased as air temperature increased and an activation energy value of 57.85 kJ mol⁻℗£ was found. Important losses of vitamin C were reported during drying for all the working temperatures (p<0.05). Although TPC decreased as air-drying temperature increased (p<0.05) in comparison to its initial value, the dehydration at high temperatures (e.g., 90


Effect of probiotic cultures on the stability of anthocyanins in blueberry yoghurts

Ścibisz, Iwona; Ziarno, Małgorzata; Mitek, Marta; Zaręba, Dorota
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Dependent on anthocyanin pigments, colour is one of the main quality factors of berry products. In this paper we assess the influence of probiotic bacteria on the degradation rate of anthocyanins in yoghurts with a highbush blueberry preparation during storage. Four types of yoghurts were prepared: first with the yoghurt starter culture YC-X16 only (Steptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacilllus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus) and three more, each with the starter culture YC-X16 and one of the three probiotic cultures: Bb-12, La-5 and LCP, respectively (Bif. animalis subsp. lactis – Bb-12; Lactobacillus. acidophilus – La-5 and Lactobacillus. paracasei subsp. paracasei – LCP). Derivatives of malvidin were the predominant anthocyanins in the tested yoghurts. Degradation of pigments occurred in accordance with the first-order reaction and its half-life time depended on the bacterial cultures. Anthocyanins in the probiotic yoghurt made with LCP culture were characterized by lower stability than those made with the other bacterial cultures. The impact of lactic bacteria or their metabolic products on the stability of anthocyanins in berry yoghurts shows that an appropriate selection of culture for production of yoghurt is recommended.


Effects of exogenous abscisic acid on fruit quality, antioxidant capacities, and phytochemical contents of southern high bush blueberries

Buran, Timothy J.; Sandhu, Amandeep K.; Azeredo, Alberto M.; Bent, Alisha H.; Williamson, Jeffrey G.; Gu, Liwei
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Abstract: Abscisic acid (ABA) is a plant growth regulator that has a potential to increase antioxidant capacity and phenolic content of fruits and vegetables. The objective of this study was to examine whether an exogenous ABA application can positively affect fruit quality, antioxidant capacity, and phytochemical content of southern high bush blueberries (Vaccinium darrowii). Two varieties, namely Star and Windsor, were tested with ABA water solutions of three concentrations (0, 200, and 400ppm) using a randomised complete block design. Results showed that ABA significantly increased the firmness of berries in both varieties, suggesting a ripening delay effect. Such effect was more pronounced in Windsor variety as reflected by a lower percentage of ripe berries and smaller sized berries on ABA treated bushes. In conclusion, ABA delayed the ripening of blueberries, but did not affect total phenolic content, antioxidant capacity, or the content of individual phytochemicals in ripe blueberries.


Evaluation of quality changes of blueberry juice during refrigerated storage after high-pressure and pulsed electric fields processing

Barba, F. J.; Jäger, H.; Meneses, N.; Esteve, M. J.; Frígola, A.; Knorr, D.
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Abstract: A better knowledge of the effect of refrigerated storage on the nutritional and physicochemical characteristics of foods processed by emerging technologies with regard to unprocessed juices is necessary. Thus, blueberry juice was processed by high pressure (HP) (600MPa/42°C/5min) and pulsed electric fields (PEF) (36kV/cm, 100μs). The stability of physicochemical parameters, antioxidant compounds (ascorbic acid, total phenolics, total anthocyanins) and antioxidant capacity was studied just after treatment and during 56days at refrigerated storage at 4°C. Just after treatment, all treated blueberry juices showed a decrease lower than 5% in ascorbic acid content compared with the untreated one. At the end of refrigerated storage, unprocessed and PEF juices showed similar ascorbic acid losses (50%) in relation to untreated juice, although HP juices maintained better the ascorbic acid content during storage time (31% losses). All juices exhibited fluctuations in total phenolic values with a marked decrease after 7days in refrigerated storage, however prolonged storage of the juices at 4°C, up to 56days resulted in another in the total phenolic content for all juices in comparison with day 7. HP preserved antioxidant activity (21% losses) more than unprocessed (30%) and PEF (48%) juices after 56days at 4°C. Color changes (a*, b*, L, Chroma, hº and ΔE) were slightly noticeable after refrigerated storage for all juices. Industrial relevance: Non-thermal technologies allow the acquisition of drinks that keep their characteristics similar to the fresh product. They must join second conservation treatment such as refrigerated storage. A better knowledge of the effect of refrigerated storage on the nutritional and physicochemical characteristics of foods processed by emerging technologies with regard to unprocessed juices is necessary.


The influence of different time durations of thermal processing on berries quality

Arancibia-Avila, Patricia; Namiesnik, Jacek; Toledo, Fernando; Werner, Enrique; Martinez-Ayala, Alma Leticia; Rocha-Guzmán, Nuria Elizabeth; Gallegos-Infante, José Alberto; Gorinstein, Shela
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Abstract: Bioactive compounds (polyphenols, flavonoids, flavanols, tannins, anthocyanins and ascorbic acid) and the level of antioxidant activity by ABTS, DPPH, FRAP and CUPRAC of water, acetone and hexane extracts of Chilean ‘Murtilla’ (Ugni molinae Turcz) and ‘Myrteola’ berries (Myrtaceae, Myrteola nummularia (Poiret) Berg.), Chilean and Polish blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum), Chilean raspberries (Rubus idaeus), and Polish black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) were determined and compared. It was found that the contents of the bioactive compounds and the levels of antioxidant activities in used extracts differ significantly (P < 0.05). The correlation between the total polyphenols, flavanols and the antioxidant activities was significantly the highest in water, average in acetone and the lowest in hexane extracts. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy was applied as an additional tool for the characterization of the water polyphenol extracts. Aqueous extracts of investigated berries were subjected to different times of thermal processing. Bioactive compounds and the levels of antioxidant activities by 2,2-Azino-bis (3-ethyl-benzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) diammonium salt (ABTS+); 1,1-Diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl method (DPPH); Ferric-reducing/antioxidant power (FRAP) and Cupric reducing antioxidant capacity (CUPRAC) after 10, 20, 40 and 60 min of thermal processing were determined and compared with non processed samples. It was found that the antioxidant activity only of berries subjected to thermal processing for 10 and 20 min did not differ from the non thermally processed studied berries, showing high correlation between the total polyphenols, flavanols and the antioxidant activities. In conclusion, thermal treatment of studied berries influences their quality: only berries after 10 and 20 min of thermal processing preserved their bioactivity.


Looking for more health research?

Contact KIT BROIHIER, resident nutrition adviser to the Wild Blueberry Association of North America

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Kit Broihier, MS, RD, LD is the Nutrition advisor and spokesperson for the Wild Blueberry Association of North America. She is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian with a Masters Degree in Nutrition and is the owner of NutriComm Inc., a food and nutrition communications consulting company.

Ms. Broihier received a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics from Michigan State University and a Master of Science degree in Nutrition Communications from Boston University.