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Blueberry as functional food and dietary supplement: The natural way to ensure holistic health

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Blueberry (Vaccinium sp.), a fruit crop belonging to family Ericaceae is regarded a repository of functional phytochemi- cals. Its components, phenolic acids (caffeic, chlorogenic, ferulic, p-coumaric, and cinnamic acids) and flavonoids (anthocyanidins) have been credited to confer manifold healthy properties. The berries have been evidenced to impart relief from obesity, diabetes, retinal injury, heart, liver, stomach and kidney inflammation, tumours, microbial infection, cognitive decline and bone loss. Consumer interest in these berries is reflected in the slew of fortified-foods. The nutraceutical potentials of these nutrient pow- erhouses warrant deeper investigation for their optimal exploitation. This literature review elucidates the probable modes of biological actions, current status and future scopes of blueberry for prcessed food and dietary supplement development. Relevant information has been mined from PUBMED, SCOPUS and Google scholar database and assembled into an insightful account.
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Mediterranean Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism 7 (2014) 133–143
DOI:10.3233/MNM-140013
IOS Press
133
Blueberry as functional food and dietary
supplement: The natural way to ensure
holistic health
Seema Patel
Department of Biotechnology, Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar, Punjab, India
Abstract. Blueberry (Vaccinium sp.), a fruit crop belonging to family Ericaceae is regarded a repository of functional phytochemi-
cals. Its components, phenolic acids (caffeic, chlorogenic, ferulic, p-coumaric, and cinnamic acids) and flavonoids (anthocyanidins)
have been credited to confer manifold healthy properties. The berries have been evidenced to impart relief from obesity, diabetes,
retinal injury, heart, liver, stomach and kidney inflammation, tumours, microbial infection, cognitive decline and bone loss.
Consumer interest in these berries is reflected in the slew of fortified-foods. The nutraceutical potentials of these nutrient pow-
erhouses warrant deeper investigation for their optimal exploitation. This literature review elucidates the probable modes of
biological actions, current status and future scopes of blueberry for prcessed food and dietary supplement development. Relevant
information has been mined from PUBMED, SCOPUS and Google scholar database and assembled into an insightful account.
Keywords: Blueberry, anthocyanin, antioxidant, anticancer, neuro-protection, functional food
1. Introduction
Berries have been hailed as excellent reserves of health-restoring phyto-chemicals. The popular berries are viz.
strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries, red currants, black currants, chokeberries, wolfber-
ries, huckleberries and lingonberries. Dietary enrichment with the berries has emerged as an essential sector of
nutritional improvement. Unarguably, blueberry scores the highest in terms of antioxidants and is regarded as a
quintessential functional food ingredient. Blueberry (Vaccinium sp.) belongs to the family Ericaceae (heath fam-
ily, to which belong cranberry, azalea and rhododendron). This plant is native to the USA and Southern Canada,
growing wild in hilly and woodland regions. The three prominent varieties grown are highbush (V. corymbosum,
V. ashei), lowbush (V. angustifolium) and evergreen (V. darrowii). These plants thrive in acidic soil and require ample
sunlight. The shrubs are medium-sized and bear clusters of blue to purple fruits with ashen coatings (Fig. 1). The
berries are delicious with sweet, tart, tangy taste. The ripe berries are harvested in summer, ideally from May to
October. The USA is the leading producer, Maine, Michigan, Oregon, Washington, New Jersey, Florida, Georgia
and North Carolina being the major contributing states. However, the cultivation has now proliferated to Europe,
Asia, Africa and Australia. The berries are relished straight off the shrubs or processed into an array of delectable
recipes. The fruits are generally processed into jam, syrup, pie, soup, tart, cobbler, smoothie, pancake, muffin, cup-
cake, salsa, salad, lemonade, waffles, ready-to eat breakfast cereals, yoghurts and beverages. The berries are known
to be nutrient storehouse with plentiful fibres, tannins, anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, vitamin C, ellagic acid,
Corresponding author: Seema Patel, Department of Biotechnology, Lovely Professional University, Jalandhar, 144402 Punjab, India. Tel.:
+949 981 1629; E-mail: seemabiotech83@gmail.com.
ISSN 1973-798X/14/$27.50 © 2014 – IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved
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134 S. Patel / Health benefits of blueberry consumption
Fig. 1. Validated ameliorative properties of blueberry.
Fig. 2. Structures of major bioactive compounds in blueberry.
omega-3 fatty acids, carotenoids, minerals etc. (Fig. 2). A variety of anthocyanins occur in blueberry, the chief
types being monoarabinosides, monoglucosides and monogalactosides of cyanidin, petunidin, peonidin, delphinidin
and malvidin. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) human nutrition center recommends its inclusion
in diet. The approximate nutrient profile of blueberries is presented in Table 1. An appreciable gamut of health
benefits viz. antioxidant, anti-inflammation, neuro-protection, anti-metastatic, cardio-protective, antimicrobial, reno-
protective, opthalmoprotective, anti-diabetic, hepato-protective, gastro-protective, anti-osteoporotic, anti-aging have
been reported. In the USA, it has become an indispensable ingredient of functional food sector. This review presents
an updated account of the nutritional advantages of blueberry with special emphasis on functionality.
2. Roles in healthcare
2.1. Antioxidant and anti-inflammation
The total antioxidant capacity and phenolic composition of blueberry was investigated. Both 2, 2-azino-bis (ABTS)
and 2, 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) assays revealed its strong total antioxidant capacity. Abundance of
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S. Patel / Health benefits of blueberry consumption 135
Table 1
Phytochemical profile of blueberry (courtesy: USDA national nutrient database)
Nutrients per 100 g
Proximate Energy 57 Kcal
Protein 0.74 g
Fat 0.33 g
Carbohydrate 14.49 g
Dietary fiber 2.40 g
Ash 0.24 g
Minerals Calcium 6.00 mg
Copper 0.28 mg
Iron 0.06 mg
Magnesium 6.00 mg
Manganese 0.34 mg
Phosphorus 12.00 mg
Potassium 77.00 mg
Selenium 0.10 g
Sodium 1.00 mg
Zinc 0.16 mg
Vitamins Ascorbic acid 9.70 mg
Thiamin 0.04 mg
Riboflavin 0.04 mg
Niacin 0.42 mg
Pantothenic caid 0.12 mg
Pyridixine 0.05 mg
Folic acid 6.00 g
Retinol 54.00 IU
Tocopherol 0.57 mg ATE
*IU=Intenational Units, *ATE=Alpha tocopherol equivalent.
proanthocyanidins and anthocyanidins were found responsible for enhancing redox status of body [1]. Enzymatic
hydrolysis of V. corymbosum was carried out using a range of commercial food-grade carbohydrase AMG and protease
Alcalase to obtain water soluble compounds. Further, their protective effect was investigated against H2O2-induced
damage in Chinese hamster lung fibroblast V79-4 cell line. The hydrolysates showed high total phenolic content
as well as radical scavenging activities. The cells were also shielded against lipid peroxidation, DNA damage and
apoptotic body formation in a dose-dependent manner [2]. Anti-inflammatory effect of blueberry anthocyanins was
evaluated on trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS)-induced bowel disease model of mice. After administering daily
dosage of 40 mg/kg for 6 days, the mice were euthanized. The extract conferred strong protection against colonic
damage, and diarrhoea risk could be averted. Reduction in the levels of nitric oxide, myeloperoxidase, interleukin
(IL-12), tumor necrosis factor (TNF-), and interferon gamma (IFN-) was reported [3]. It was examined whether
consumption of 250 g of blueberries daily for 6 weeks and 375g given 1 h prior to 2.5 h of running is capable of
combating oxidative stress, inflammation and immune changes. Increase in F2-isoprostanes and 5-hydroxymethyl-2-
deoxyuridine was significantly lower and plasma IL-10 and natural killer (NK) cell counts were significantly greater in
the blood of blueberry diet-fed group. Oxidative stress was substantially reduced and anti-inflammatory cytokine level
improved following the berry consumption [4]. The mean serum oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) was
significantly higher after the intake of 75 g blueberry. It was inferred that the berry diet might attenuate postprandial
stress imposed by high-carbohydrate, low-fat breakfast [5]. It was reported that anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins-
rich fractions from fermented blueberry-blackberry wine can reduce lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammatory
response in mouse macrophages via the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-B)-mediated pathway [6].
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2.2. Diabetes and obesity management
Diabetes begets many incapacitating ailments. Standard drugs though effective in mitigating the disease, result in
undesirable health conditions. Metformin is a potent antidiabetic drug but causes multiple side effects viz. diarrhoea,
nausea, gas, chest pain and allergy. So, complication-free drugs are constantly sought after in diabetes management.
It was demonstrated that anthocyanin isolated from V. angustifolium berries has the potency to alleviate symptoms of
hyperglycaemia in diabetic C57b1/6J mice. Force-feeding with a phenolic-rich extract and an anthocyanin-enriched
fraction (500 mg/kg) formulated with an emulsifier lowered the elevated blood glucose levels by 33 and 51%,
respectively. The potency compared well with metformin and the efficacy was more pronounced when administered
with the delivery system [7]. A supplement of blueberry powder was assessed for its protective effect against adipose
tissue inflammation and insulin resistance in high-fat-diet-fed mice. Attenuation in upregulation of inflammatory
genes and protection from insulin resistance was conspicuous [8]. A double-blind, randomized study was conducted
to assess the impact of the berry diet on insulin sensitivity, inflammatory biomarkers and adiposity. Two varieties of
highbush blueberries ‘Tifblue’ (V. ashei) and ‘Rubel’ (V. corymbosum) were freeze-dried and crushed. Consumption
of the berry smoothie twice daily for 6 weeks led to improvement of insulin sensitivity in obese, non-diabetic as well as
insulin-resistant participants. Diabetes-ameliorating role of blueberries came forth [9]. It was observed that inclusion
of 3% blueberry pomace was effective in restoring the fructose-induced metabolic anomalies, including reduction
in plasma cholesterol and abdominal fat. These findings lay the foundation for possible battle against obesity [10].
The anti-obesity effect and mechanism of action of blueberry peel extracts was investigated on 3T3-L1 cells and
high-fat-diet-induced obese rats. The extracts exerted inhibitory effect on adipogenesis through the down-regulation
of C/EBP, C/EBP, and PPARand the reduction of the phospho-Akt adipogenic factor in 3T3-L1 cells. Oral
administration of the peel extract significantly reduced high-fat-diet-induced body weight gain without affecting
food intake. The epididymal or perirenal adipose tissue weights were lower. Total cholesterol and triglyceride levels
were modestly reduced, and the HDL-cholesterol level was significantly increased, leading to lowering of body weight
[11]. The potential of a wild blueberry-enriched diet to improve blood lipid profile and to modulate the expression
of genes related to lipid homeostasis was investigated in obese Zucker rats. Plasma triglyceride and total cholesterol
concentrations were significantly lower in the rats after 8% blueberry consumption for 8 weeks. The expression
of fatty acid synthase was significantly decreased in both the liver and abdominal adipose tissue. It improved lipid
profiles and modulated the expression of key enzymes and transcription factors of lipid metabolism in severely
dyslipidaemic rats [12].
2.3. Opthalmo-protective
Potential of blueberries in blocking detrimental effects of light abuse on eyes have been studied. The effect of
Chinese blueberries consumption on retinal damage upon light exposure was determined in pigmented rabbits.
Feeding the animals with whole blueberries at a dosage of 1.2–4.9 g/kg daily for 4 weeks prior to light exposure
effectively reduced the extent of harm to the retinas as assessed by electroretinogram [13]. Further, the protective
effect of the berry anthocyanins on retinal pigment epithelium was evaluated against aging and visible or UV light-
induced injuries. Delayed aging and apoptosis as well as the down-regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor
(VEGF) to normalcy were observed [14]. Blueberry-enriched diet was investigated as a potential protectant against
light-induced retinopathy. When given as gavage for 2 to 7 weeks before subjecting to 2 hours of intense light regimen,
retinal protection was observed. Placebo-fed rats suffered from damage in the superior hemiretina, which the berry
supplemented group escaped [15].
2.4. Cardio-protective and hypotensive
Growing body of evidences suggest that the intake of flavonoid-rich foods exerts cardiovascular benefits. So,
amelioration of cardiac disorders by blueberry-fortified diet was assessed. The cardio-protective property of a 3
month berry-enriched diet was assessed in rats. Owing to richness in antioxidant, it protected against reactive oxygen
species (ROS) - induced ischemic injuries. Development of post-myocardial infarction and chronic heart failure
was notably blunted [16]. The nutritional effect of V. angustifolium consumption was assessed on the markers of
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oxidative stress, inflammation and endothelial function in 18 male volunteers with risk factors for cardiovascular
disease. Intake of the drink for 6 weeks spaced by a 6 week flushing significantly reduced the levels of endogenously
oxidized DNA bases and H2O2-induced DNA damage [17]. The effect of a 10 week blueberry supplementation on
blood pressure and vascular reactivity was investigated in rats fed a high-fat diet. The supplementation with 2% (w/w)
blueberry showed significant reductions in systolic blood pressure. The aorta relaxation was significantly greater in
response to acetylcholine which confirmed the role of blueberry in improving contractile machinery of endothelial
layer [18].
2.5. Hepatoprotective
The possible protective effects of blueberry blended with probiotics Lactobacillus plantarum and Bifidobacterium
infantis was estimated on D-galactosamine and LPS-induced acute liver injury model of rats. After intake, Alanine
aminotransferase levels were reported to decrease significantly. Also, bilirubin, liver TNF-and myeloperoxidase
content decreased significantly whereas liver glutathione values increased significantly [19]. It was observed that
dietary blueberry improves CCl4-induced hepatic fibrosis by reducing hepatocyte injury and lipid peroxidation
in rat model. The level of liver inflammation marker, hyaluronic acid and alanine aminotransferase were lowered
considerably, whereas antioxidant status was promoted [20]. Polyphenol-rich extracts of Chinese blueberries inhibited
the triglyceride deposition in the hepatocellular HepG2 cells [13]. Further, the effects of blueberry were evaluated
in rats with induced-hepatic fibrosis. After 12 weeks of the administration, the rats were sacrificed. The group
administered with blueberry had reduced pathological conditions, manifested in lower collagen build-up and structural
anomalies. Stress deduction by amplifying SOD and GSH content and slashing MDA level was reckoned to be the
therapeutic mode [21].
2.6. As prebiotics
Probiotics augmentation by blueberries is a comparatively nascent field in nutrition research. In pursuit to determine
prebiotic potential of blueberry, both in vitro and in vivo investigations were carried out. When added to mixed
faecal bacteria cultures derived from healthy human volunteers, noticeable growth in Lactobacillus rhamnosus and
Bifidobacterium breve population was observed. The extract when given in gavage to rats for 6 days, probiotics
density increased Molan et al. [22]. Also, a 6 week consumption of V. angustifolium drink led to the enhancement
in Bifidobacterium spp. count. High polyphenol and fiber content were credited for inducing the proliferation of
probiotics [23]. For promotion of gut health, prebiotic role of blueberries should certainly be studied more intensely
[24]. The berry drink resulted in significant increase of Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis population, as analyzed
in the faeces of volunteers. The predominance of B. longum subsp. longum and B. adolescentis was evident [25].
2.7. Antimicrobial
Blueberry has been shown effective against an array of food pathogens, owing to its abundance in phenolic com-
ponents. The inhibitory effect of blueberry was evaluated on Giardia duodenalis, the etiological agent of giardiasis.
The berry extract caused inhibition of trophozoites of the protozoa when grown in vitro [26]. Salmonella serotype
Enteritidis is notorious for causing fever, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps. Blueberry phenolics supplemented in
tryptic soy broth showed growth inhibition towards this pathogen [27]. The antimicrobial effects of V. angustifolium
extracts were studied against Escherichia coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella typhimurium by
agar diffusion assay. The flavanol proanthocyanidin demonstrated the lowest minimum inhibitory concentration with
strongest inhibitory effect towards L. monocytogenes [28].
2.8. Anticancer
Substantial evidences supporting the claims of dysplasia prevention, anti-angiogenesis and anti-metastasis by
blueberries have accumulated in recent times. It was reported that blueberries owing to their high content of ellagic
acid, foil endogenous oxidative DNA damage leading to diminished cancer risks [29]. The anti-inflammatory role of
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blueberry husks in synergy with probiotics in dextran sulphate sodium-induced colorectal tumour models of rat was
evaluated. Reduction in the number of colonic ulcers and dysplastic lesions was observed, attributable to the higher
level of butyric acid in distal colon [30]. Excess oestrogen level is a risk factor for breast cancer. It was determined
whether dietary berries and ellagic acid prevent 17estradiol (E2)-induced mammary tumours by altering oestrogen
metabolism. At 6 weeks, the E2-treatment caused 48-fold increase in cytochrome P4501A1 in rat models which
was attenuated to 21-fold by the supplement. Mammary tumorigenesis instances were played down by suppressing
the levels of E2-metabolizing enzymes [31]. The antitumor activity of whole blueberry powder was demonstrated
against MDA-MB-231 triple negative breast cancer in mice. On ingestion of 5% and 10% blueberry diet, tumour size
showed noticeable regression. The caspase 3-activated apoptosis of cancerous cells was greater in the 10% fortified
diet. Genes responsible for inflammation, cancer and metastasis were significantly down-regulated [32]. Their role
in retarding MDA-MD-231 cell proliferation was further evaluated. The phenolic acids showed potential to target the
daughter or progenitor cells in the mammary gland, capable of transformation into malignant cells [33]. Blueberry
diet was effective in reducing mammary tissue proliferation in ACI rat mammary tumor model. At 5% dose, tumor
appearance was delayed for about 24 days, presumably by downregulation of CYP1A1 expression [34]. Cancer stem
cells demonstrate resistance to chemo and radiation therapy,which enables their enrichment. Blueberry phytochemical
pterostilbene was evaluated against irradiation-enriched cancer stem cells. The bioactive dose-dependently reduced
the enrichment of human hepatocellular carcinoma upon irradiation. Further, it prevented tumour sphere formation,
reduced CD133 gene expression, and suppressed invasion and migration abilities as well as increasing apoptosis of
the cells. Aggression of liver cancers might be checked by harnessing pterostilbene [35]. The effect of blueberry
extracts was evaluated on B16-F10 metastatic melanoma murine cells. The anthocyanin rich-fraction obtained from
cultivar Torro possessed the highest antioxidant activity and inhibited the cancer cell proliferation at concentrations
higher than 500 g/ml. Also, the fraction stimulated apoptosis and increased total lactate dehydrogenase activity in
the cancer cells [36].
2.9. Reno-protective
It was reported that a 3% blueberry diet fed for 8 weeks is capable of protecting the kidneys from oxidative damage
in spontaneously hypertensive stroke-prone rats. In the berry-administered group, systolic blood pressure was 19%
lower at week 4 and 30% lower at week 6 compared to control. Also, reduced markers of renal oxidative stress,
such as proteinuria and kidney nitrites were observed [37]. The renoprotective effect of a blueberry-enriched diet
was further assessed in rat models of hypertension. The animals fed with the berry diet for 6 or 12 weeks exhibited
lower blood pressure, improved glomerular filtration rate and decreased renovascular resistance. Significant fall
in total ROS, peroxynitrite and superoxide production rates were observed in kidney tissues. Antioxidant status
showed improvement, evident from the renal glutathione and catalase activities. However, only the long-term feeding
contributed to the therapeutic value [38].
2.10. Neuroprotective and senescence retardant
Oxidative stress, microglial activation and pro-inflammatory factors lead to aging. Neuro-degeneration predisposes
to debilitating Alzheimer’s disease. A convincing set of findings have emerged to substantiate the neuroprotective
potential of blueberries. The ability of blueberries in preventing aggregation of amyloid-beta (A) into fibrillar
amyloid plaques has been evaluated. Microglial proinflammatory activation caused neuronal and synaptic damage,
leading to cognitive impairment. The berry extract significantly enhanced the microglial clearance of A, inhibited
the aggregation of A1-42 and suppressed microglial activation, all via suppression of the p44/42 MAPK module.
Blueberries, by virtue of their anthocyanin content are presumed to improve neuronal signalling, boost memory func-
tion and delay the onset of geriatric dementia [39]. The biological effect of daily consumption of V. angustifolium
juice was investigated in older adults with early stage of memory decline. After 12 weeks of the potion administration,
improved ability of paired-associate learning and word list recall was noticed. Also, reduced depressive symptoms
were reported. Blueberry supplementation holds promise in promoting neuro-cognitive health [40]. The presence of
potent NADPH oxidase inhibitors in Alaskan blueberries was confirmed from the underlying experiment. Incubation
of human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells with nonpolar blueberry fractions obstructed the clustering of lipid rafts
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into macrodomains, disrupting NADPH oxidase assembly therein and abolishing ROS production. Inflammation and
oxidative stress were suppressed, resulting in lowered degeneration of central nervous system [41]. The berry extracts
when fed for 6–8 weeks, elevated long-term potentiation in the hippocampus, vital for memory formation. The nor-
malization of long-term potentiation may be due to the blueberry diet preventing a decline in synaptic strength. Phos-
phorylation of a key tyrosine residue on the NR2B subunit of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor was enhanced by the diet,
which restored cognitive impairment [42]. The importance of a nutraceutical ‘NT-020’ formulated of blueberry, green
tea and carnosine in promoting the proliferation of stem cells was evaluated in vitro and in vivo. When given as gavage
at a dose of 135 mg/kg per day for 4 weeks, a decreased number of OX6 MHC II-positive cells, increased neurogenesis
and increased number of proliferating cells were found in rats [43]. The effects of blueberry polyphenols was examined
on the lifespan and aging of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. The complex mixture of blueberry polyphenols was
shown to stretch the longevity and impede the aging-related declines. The resistance to acute heat stress was attributed
to the proanthocyanidin compounds [44]. Supplementing aged hosts with 2% blueberry in the diet increased central
nervous system graft growth and neuronal survival against inflammatory cytokine IL-6 and oxidative stress on intraoc-
ular hippocampal grafts. Moderation in immunoreactivity led to decrease in microglial activation and astrogliosis [45].
Blueberry extract was reported to be neuroprotective against amyloid-beta neurotoxicity in all viz. embryonic, middle-
age or old-age rats. Protection of the primary hippocampal neurons by the berry extract was presumed to be mediated
through alteration in stress signalling and shielding from the hazards of ROS. Reversal of the hippocampal Ca2+
dysregulation leads to improvement in spatial memory [46]. Serratia vaccinii-fermented blueberry juice was recruited
to prevent and treat neurodegenerative disorders. When neuronal cell culture was incubated with the juice, significant
increment in the activity of antioxidant enzymes viz. CAT and SOD was observed. Also, the juice could shield the
H2O2-induced oxidative stress and resultant cell death in a dose-dependent manner. Activation of p38- and JNK-
dependent survival pathways and blockage of MEK1/2- and ERK1/2-mediated cell death was deduced to be the molec-
ular approach [47]. The effect of a blueberry-rich diet was investigated in young rats using a spatial working memory
paradigm, the delayed non-match task, using an eight-arm radial maze. A 7-week supplementation with 2% (w/w)
blueberry, improvement in the spatial memory performance was observed. The cognitive augmentation was due to the
activation of extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK1/2), increased total cAMP-response element-binding protein
(CREB) and elevated levels of pro- and mature brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the hippocampus [48].
2.11. Osteoprotective
Bone mass build-up by blueberry-based diet consumption was investigated. Ovariectomy leads to oestrogen defi-
ciency and consequent bone loss. High bone matrix collagen degradation as the result of osteoclast activation is
derived to be the cause. The possible role of dietary blueberry in bone density retention was studied. When adminis-
tered to pre-pubertal rats throughout development or only between postnatal days 20 to 34, ovariectomy-induced bone
loss could be prevented in adult life. This protective effect was interpreted to be due to suppression of osteoblastic
cell senescence associated with acute loss of myosin expression after the ovary removal [49]. Further, the prevention
of ovariectomy-induced bone cell senescence was reconfirmed in adult rats even after only 14 days consumption of
blueberry prior to puberty [50]. The effect of blueberry consumption was investigated in weanling rats. When AIN-
93G diet supplemented with 10% whole blueberry was administered to 21 day old rats for two weeks, remarkable
increase in bone formation was reported. Significantly increased bone mass after feeding 5% BB extracts was also
observed in a TEN (total enteral nutrition) rat model in which daily caloric and food intake was precisely controlled.
Expression of RANKL (receptor activator of nuclear factor-B ligand) a protein essential for osteoclast formation was
dose-dependently decreased in the femur of BB animals. In addition, expression of PPAR(peroxisome proliferator-
activated receptor ) which regulates bone marrow adipogenesis was suppressed in BB diet rats compared to non-BB
diet controls [51].
3. Tackling post-harvest loss and bioavailability enhancement
Blueberries are delicate and are prone to fungal decay, shrivelling, and mechanical damage. So, maintenance of
post-harvest fruit quality during transportation and storage is very challenging. The effect of transport temperature
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on the quality of V. corymbosum was evaluated. Neither cultivar remained marketable after 6 days or 16 days
at room temperature or 10C. The ‘Duke’ cultivar had slightly lower weight loss than ‘Bluetta,’ but difference
between the cultivars was not significant after 12 days of storage. Organic acid content declined in both culti-
vars during storage [52]. Gray mold caused by Botrytis cinerea spoils blueberries during transportation, leading
to huge economic losses. It was demonstrated that SO2fumigation could be an effective method for reducing the
risk of fungal damage. The efficacy was tremendous as seen in ‘Brigitta’ and ‘Liberty’ cultivars, which contained
97.2% to 97.5% mold in untreated form, which could be minimized to 7.9% to 6.1% in the treated forms [53]. The
potentials of plant essential oils and plant oil-derived biofungicides were investigated to check fungi on the berries.
When treated under refrigeration for a week, Sporatec volatiles (formulated from rosemary, clove, and thyme oils)
significantly reduced fungi, though other oils failed to elicit appreciable antifungal activity. These plant-derived
fungicides have limited application possibilities for they negatively affected the sensory attributes of the berries
[54].
Processing techniques play important role in maximum retention of bioactive components. Continuous vacuum-belt
drying was evaluated as a means to produce high-quality powders from blueberry slurries, with minimal deterioration
to anthocyanins. Vacuum-belt drying at 80C with 0.3 kg maltodextrin/kg dry solids produced non-hygroscopic
powders with anthocyanin content similar to freeze-dried powders [55]. The absorption of phenolic and anthocyanin
content after consumption of one portion (300 g) of minimally processed blueberry pur´
ee was investigated. Phenolic
content was higher in blanched compared to non-blanched pur´
ee. Blanching enhanced anthocyanin absorption from
the gut [56]. Osmotic dehydration has proven to be an ideal method of postharvest shelf-life prolongation. Dehydration
at high tempetature (60 and 70C) led to substantial loss of phenolic compounds and unfavorable changes in the texture
of the final product. Pretreatment of the berries with pectinases and lipases, led to increase in dry matter content with
a low loss of phenolic compounds. Anthocyanin components (petunidin-3-galactoside and petunidin-3-glucoside)
were retained [57].
4. Future directions
The broad spectrum therapeutic possibilities delineate blueberries as nutrient-dense food source. To ensure maxi-
mum bioaccessibility of blueberry, the metabolites generated and their fate in the gut should be investigated. Studies
have shown that anthocyanins are metabolized by the intestinal microflora to respective phenyl-alkyl acids, which can
be further metabolized to benzoic acid. Hippuric acid content in urine indicates that metabolism and excretion of blue-
berry anthocyanin is based on diet duration [58]. Experiment on a TNO intestinal model (TIM-1) of the human upper
gastrointestinal tract showed that polyphenol-rich extract of blueberry generates anthocyanins, which get partially
destroyed during transport through upper digestive tract for subsequent colonic delivery release [59]. Metabolism and
absorption of other functional components should be probed. New cultivars with improved photochemical profiles
should be bred. In this regard, cultivated and wild blueberries were compared for their antioxidant effects. Wild
genotypes showed more antioxidants than cultivated counterparts. COMET assay confirmed the stronger action on
DNA protection in wild samples [60]. So, wild genotypes must be preserved. Pest management and post-harvest
storage are challenging issues that need to be addressed. Blueberries should be introduced to wider market and grown
globally. Blueberry-based food innovation should be explored more intensely. Assortment of nutrient-rich botanicals
could be combined with blueberries to develop functional foods. The juices of ac¸a´
ı, black cherry, grape, cranberry,
pomegranate juice are supposed to boost the goodness of blueberry drinks, in terms of sensory appeal and antioxi-
dant content. A beverage was successfully developed by blending blueberries with apples, cranberries, gingers and
supplementing amino acids, vitamins and minerals. The beverage retained sensory appeal while possessing phenolic
content, FRAP value and % inhibition of LDL oxidation in amount enough to be a cardio-protective [61]. Efficient
protocols for anthocyanin extraction should be emphasized. The berry skins are rich in anthocyanins, cinnamic
acid derivatives and flavonol-glycosides. So, recovery of these polyphenolics from the processing wastes must be
emphasized. Other ailment management possibilities should be uncovered. Blueberry holds immense promise for
prevention of hypertension, promotion of healthy aging and reduction of cancer incidences. Berries are known to
control pathogenic microorganisms. More studies on the use of blueberry as a natural antimicrobial in food products
are warranted.
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5. Conclusions
The review emphasizes the blueberry-based novel nutraceutical development. The plethora of health benefits sug-
gest that research should be directed in understanding the bioactive components of blueberry and precise mechanisms
mediating the disease remediation. Its ingestion must be encouraged for valorisation of immunity against nagging
health threats. Neo-consumers should be awakened about its multiplicity of goodness. Inclusion of this berry in food
platter will certainly be an assured step towards health restoration. Time is ripe for popularization of the berry beyond
North America.
Disclosure of interest
There is no conflict of interest in submission of this manuscript.
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... Apart from defending the hepatocytes against oxidative damage and regulating the activity of T-cells, blueberry can also amplify hepatic immunity in mice (Ma et al., 2018). The different types of anthocyanins found in blue berries are monoglucosides, monoarabinosides, and monogalactosides of cyanidin, petunidin, peonidin, delphinidin, and malvidin (Patel, 2014). Table 4. Vitamin C content in berries is about 9.7 mg/100 g fruit (Patel, 2014). ...
... The different types of anthocyanins found in blue berries are monoglucosides, monoarabinosides, and monogalactosides of cyanidin, petunidin, peonidin, delphinidin, and malvidin (Patel, 2014). Table 4. Vitamin C content in berries is about 9.7 mg/100 g fruit (Patel, 2014). ...
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... 170 Phenolic constituents are reported as having numerous general health benefits as they enhance several biological activities of foods, such as regulation of hormones, and have beneficial attributes for brain, liver, and heart activity. [171][172][173] Studies have reported that polyphenolic compounds not only regulate the gene expression of antioxidative enzymes and beneficial proteins, but have the potential to regulate neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. 174 In a recent study, the potential of millet in relation to neural protection was explored using a rat model (HFD-induced oxidative stress). ...
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Background: Industrial blueberry juice processing results in a significant amount of by-product, the so called pomace; and could represents a nutritional valuable source of fibre and bioactive compounds to enhance either technological or nutritional characteristics of foods. The aim of this study was to obtain novel ingredients based on blueberry by-product applying different drying methods: convective (CD), freeze (FD) and vacuum-drying (VD). The powders were physicochemical, functional, and nutritionally characterized. Finally, its application to formulate muffins in replacing 10-20-30% of wheat flour was studied to evaluate the effect on textural, colour and sensorial characteristics. Results: CD reduced the hydration and functional properties when compared to FD and VD. The powders were characterized by a high content of dietary fibre (273 ± 5 g kg-1 ) and, a good retention and bioaccessibility of antioxidant compounds (39-85% range). The powder addition to formulate muffin decreased lightness and chromaticity, without differences due to drying process. The texture parameters were reduced with 10% of ingredient addition; meanwhile 20-30% showed similar values to the muffin control. Sensorial evaluation presented good overall acceptability (>6 ± 2 in a 9-point hedonic scale) and, some specific attributes showed a significant drop in overall acceptability recommending its optimization according to the Penalty Analysis. Conclusion: These results suggest that functional ingredients rich in fibre and bioactive compounds may be obtained from an industrial by-product giving added value and avoiding or reducing their lost; and could also be a promising vehicle to incorporate dietary fibre and bioactive compounds in bakery goods. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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Quality changes of highbush blueberry cultivars (Vaccinium corymbosum L. cvs. Bluetta, Duke) were evaluated as influenced by transport temperature. Neither cultivar remained marketable after 6 days or 16 days at room temperature or 10°C. The ‘Duke’ cultivar had slightly lower weight loss than ‘Bluetta,’ but difference between the cultivars was not significant after 12 days of storage. Decrease of fruit firmness was delayed by storage at 10°C for both cultivars, with ‘Duke’ blueberries being firmer than ‘Bluetta’. Soluble solids content was 9.9 ± 0.3 °Brix for both cultivars, which was lower than previous reports, probably as a result of weather conditions before harvest. Organic acid content declined in both cultivars during storage. Hue value of the ‘Bluetta’ cultivar was higher (more purple-blue) than the ‘Duke’ cultivar, but Hunter L and hue angle did not change during storage. Fruit characteristics at harvest and postharvest maintenance of low temperature are clearly important factors affecting the post-harvest fruit quality during transportation and storage.
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The paper presents an assessment of the influence of selected highbush blueberry pretreatment methods and parameters on the process of osmotic dehydration conducted in 65 °Brix sucrose solution for 5 to 240 min at 30–70 °C. The pretreatment methods used included: fruit immersion in boiling water (15 s) and in 0.5 % NaOH solution (15 s at 95 °C), exposure to ultrasound at atmospheric pressure (vibration frequency of 35 ± 5 kHz, 500 W, for 15 min.) and at low pressure (0.92 kg cm−1), and enzymatic processing; pectinase (enzyme activity of 46,000 PGU/mL; 0.6 mL/90 g of fruits; 30 min at approx. 22 °C) and lipase (enzyme activity of 750 PGU/mL; 0.7 mL/90 g of fruits; 30 min at approx. 22 °C) were used. Dehydration was also conducted in the presence of pectinolytic enzymes. The dehydrated material was analyzed in terms of the content of dry matter, total polyphenols, and particular polyphenols using high performance liquid chromatography. It was observed that dehydration was much more intensive at 60 and 70 °C, but such temperatures led to substantial losses of phenolic compounds (by 15–30 % after 2-h dehydration) and unfavorable changes in the texture of the final product. A promising method of pretreatment is fruit immersion in solutions containing pectinolytic and lipolytic enzymes, which increase dry matter content by 26 % (after 1 h of dehydration at 30 °C) with a low loss of phenolic compounds (4 %). Among the identified anthocyanins, the greatest retention during dehydration at various temperatures was displayed by petunidin-3-galactoside (over 80 % after 1 h of dehydration) and petunidin-3-glucoside (over 78 %).
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Previous studies have demonstrated that weanling rats fed AIN-93G semi-purified diets supplemented with 10% whole blueberry (BB) powder for two weeks beginning on postnatal day 21 (PND21) significantly increased bone formation at PND35. However, the minimal level of dietary BB needed to produce these effects is, as yet, unknown. The current study examined the effects of three different levels of BB diet supplementation (1, 3, and 5%) for 35 days beginning on PND25 on bone quality, and osteoclastic bone resorption in female rats. Peripheral quantitative CT scan (pQCT) of tibia, demonstrated that bone mineral density (BMD) and content (BMC) were dose-dependently increased in BB-fed rats compared to controls (P<0.05). Significantly increased bone mass after feeding 5% BB extracts was also observed in a TEN (total enteral nutrition) rat model in which daily caloric and food intake was precisely controlled. Expression of RANKL (receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand) a protein essential for osteoclast formation was dose-dependently decreased in the femur of BB animals. In addition, expression of PPARγ (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ) which regulates bone marrow adipogenesis was suppressed in BB diet rats compared to non-BB diet controls. Finally, a set of in vitro cell cultures revealed that the inhibitory effect of BB diet rat serum on RANKL expression was more profound in mesenchymal stromal cells compared to its effect on mature osteoblasts, pre-adipocytes and osteocytes. These results suggest that inhibition of bone resorption may contribute to increased bone mass during early development after BB consumption.
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This study examined the anti-obesity effect and mechanism of action of blueberry peel extracts (BPE) in 3T3-L1 cells and high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obese rats. The levels of lipid accumulation were measured, along with the changes in the expression of genes and proteins associated with adipocyte differentiation in 3T3-L1 cells. Evidenced by Oil-red O staining and triglyceride assay, BPE dose-dependently inhibited lipid accumulation at concentrations of 0, 50, and 200 µg/ml. BPE decreased the expression of the key adipocyte differentiation regulator C/EBPβ, as well as the C/EBPα and PPARγ genes, during the differentiation of preadipocytes into adipocytes. Moreover, BPE down-regulated adipocyte-specific genes such as aP2 and FAS compared with control adipocytes. The specific mechanism mediating the effects of BP revealed that insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of Akt was strongly decreased, and its downstream substrate, phospho-GSK3β, was downregulated by BPE treatment in 3T3-L1 cells. Together, these data indicated that BP exerted anti-adipogenic activity by inhibiting the expression of PPARγ and C/EBPβ and the Akt signaling pathway in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Next, we investigated whether BP extracts attenuated HFD-induced obesity in rats. Oral administration of BPE reduced HFD-induced body weight gain significantly without affecting food intake. The epididymal or perirenal adipose tissue weights were lower in rats on an HFD plus BPE compared with the tissue weights of HFD-induced obese rats. Total cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the rats fed BPE were modestly reduced, and the HDL-cholesterol level was significantly increased in HFD plus BP-fed rats compared with those of HFD-fed rats. Taken together, these results demonstrated an inhibitory effect of BP on adipogenesis through the down-regulation of C/EBPβ, C/EBPα, and PPARγ and the reduction of the phospho-Akt adipogenic factor in 3T3-L1 cells. Moreover, BPE reduced body weight gain and inhibited fat accumulation in an HFD-induced animal model of obesity.
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Postharvest decay, caused by various fungal pathogens, is an important concern in commercial blueberry production, but current options for managing postharvest diseases are limited for this crop. Four plant essential oils (cinnamon oil, linalool, p-cymene, and peppermint leaf oil) and the plant oil-derived biofungicides Sporan (rosemary and wintergreen oils) and Sporatec (rosemary, clove, and thyme oils) were evaluated as postharvest biofumigants to manage fungal decay under refrigerated holding conditions. Hand-harvested Tifblue rabbiteye blueberry fruit were inoculated at the stem end with conidial suspensions of Alternaria alternata, Botrytis cinerea, Colletotrichum acutatum, or sterile deionized water (check inoculation) and subjected to biofumigation treatments under refrigeration (7 degrees C) for 1 wk Sporatec volatiles reduced disease incidence significantly (P < 0.05) in most cases, whereas other treatments had no consistent effect on postharvest decay. Sensory analysis of uninoculated, biofumigated berries was performed utilizing a trained sensory panel, and biofumigation was found to have significant negative impacts on several sensory attributes such as sourness, astringency, juiciness, bitterness, and blueberry-like flavor. Biofumigated fruit were also analyzed for antioxidant capacity and individual anthocyanins, and no consistent effects on these antioxidant-related variables were found in treated berries. Because of limited efficacy in reducing postharvest decay, negative impacts on sensory qualities, and failure to increase antioxidant levels, the potential for postharvest biofumigation of blueberries under refrigerated holding conditions appears limited. (c) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Continuous vacuum-belt drying was studied as a means to produce high-quality powders from blueberry slurries, with limited degradation of anthocyanins. Drying was performed at three different temperatures (80, 95, 110 °C) and the resulting dried material (a w ∼ 0.2) ground into powders. Drying times ranged from 70 min at 80 °C to 50 min at 110 °C. Maltodextrin (MD) was used as a drying agent at three levels (0.3, 0.45, and 0.6 kg/kg dry blueberry solid). Powders were purple, with no signs of browning, and similar in appearance to those produced by freeze-drying. Increasing MD level and drying temperature decreased the hygroscopicity of the powders. Moisture isotherms showed type 3 behavior and were well-fit with the Guggenheim–Anderson–de Boer equation. Higher levels of MD improved flowability of the powders, with >93 % of the powders with MD flowing from the test fixture after 30 s, compared to only 62.1 % emerging for powders without MD. Powders dried at 80 °C were slightly darker (L* = 25.73–28.4) than those produced 110 °C (L* = 27.10–28.53), presumably due to less degradation of anthocyanins. Total monomeric anthocyanins (TMA) for MD dried at 80 °C (13.1 mg C3G/g) were not different than for freeze-dried blueberries. Higher drying temperatures caused some loss of TMA. Higher levels of MD result in lower TMA by increasing the amount of dry matter in the powders. Vacuum-belt drying at 80 °C with 0.3 kg MD/kg dry solids produced non-sticky powders with anthocyanin content similar to freeze-dried powders.
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Apple, blueberry and cranberry juice together with water-extracts of ginger and selected amino acids, vitamins and minerals were used for formulation of a cardio-protective functional beverage. Ultrasonic-assisted water extraction was used for the preparation of a bioactive-rich ginger extract. Reverse osmosis was used to achieve the partial concentration of the bioactives present in fruit juices and to enhance the antioxidant capacity. A sensory analysis was conducted to identify the acceptable combination of fruit juices and amount of ginger extract to be incorporated in the formulation. Physico-chemical properties and in vitro antioxidant properties were assessed in the beverages. Total phenolic content, ferric reducing ability of plasma (FRAP) and inhibition of Cu+ 2-induced oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL) of the ginger extract were 460 mg gallic acid equivalence (GAE)/L, 226 mg Trolox equivalence (TE)/L and 43%, respectively. It was found that up to 2% (v/v) ginger extract can be incorporated in the formulation without compromising the sensory attributes. The fruit juice blend selected was then used for the formulation with amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Sensory evaluation revealed that the fortification of selected functional ingredients at 10% recommended daily intake (RDI) does not affect the sensory attributes of the beverage. Phenolic content, FRAP value and % inhibition of LDL oxidation of the final functional beverage formulation were 1024 mg GAE/L, 3114 mg TE/L, and 45%, respectively.
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The present study investigated the potential of a wild blueberry (WB)-enriched diet to improve blood lipid profile and modulate the expression of genes related to lipid homeostasis in obese Zucker rats (OZR), a model of the metabolic syndrome with severe dyslipidaemia. For this purpose, twenty OZR and twenty lean Zucker rats (LZR; controls) were placed either on a control (C) or an 8 % WB diet for 8 weeks. Plasma total cholesterol (TC), HDL-cholesterol and TAG concentrations were determined. The relative expression of six genes involved in lipid metabolism was also determined in both the liver and the abdominal adipose tissue (AAT). Plasma TAG and TC concentrations were significantly lower in the OZR following WB consumption (4228 (sem 471) and 2287 (sem 125) mg/l, respectively) than in those on the C diet (5475 (sem 315) and 2631 (sem 129) mg/l, P< 0·05), while there was no change in HDL-cholesterol concentration. No significant effects were observed for plasma lipids in the LZR. Following WB consumption, the expression of the transcription factors PPARα and PPARγ in the OZR was increased in the AAT, while that of sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1 (SREBP-1) was decreased in the liver and AAT. The expression of fatty acid synthase was significantly decreased in both the liver and AAT and that of ATP-binding cassette transporter 1 was increased in the AAT following WB consumption. In conclusion, WB consumption appears to improve lipid profiles and modulate the expression of key enzymes and transcription factors of lipid metabolism in severely dyslipidaemic rats.