Andean Berry (Vaccinium meridionale Swartz)
María Elena Maldonado Celis,
Yuly Nataly Franco Tobón,
Sandra Sulay Arango,
and Benjamin Rojano
Nutrition and Dietetic School, University of Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia
Faculty of Pharmaceutical and Food Sciences, University of Antioquia, Hospital Pablo Tobón Uribe, Medellín, Colombia
Faculty of Sciences, Metropolitan Institute of Technology, Medellín, Colombia
Faculty of Sciences, National University of Colombia, Medellín, Colombia
The genus Vaccinium comprises about 400 species, many
of them found in tropical mountains (Camp, 1945).
Vaccinium meridionale Swartz is a native Colombian
plant that belongs to the family Ericaceae (Romero,
1961; Sarmiento, 1986; Silva, 1988; Idrobo, 1992). This
plant grows in the Andean region (Patiño and Ligarreto,
2006; La Montaña Mágica, 2000).
In Colombia, Andean berry has two harvest seasons a
year, the ﬁrst in April and May and the second between
September and December, the latter being the more
abundant harvest. There is growing interest in this fruit,
considered a functional food for its anthocyanin and
antioxidant content; it has been called a “potential
According to Berazain (1989), V. meridionale is also
found in Jamaica, Venezuela, and Peru (Escobar-Trujillo
et al., 2009). However, Colombia has an important distri-
bution between 2000 and 3000 meters above sea level.
The fruit is also known as mortiño,agraz, Andean berry,
and Colombian blueberry. It is a dark purple globe berry
when ripe, considered an exotic fruit with a high potential
for domestic consumption. It has been included in the list
of species accepted for marketing in the USA since 2006.
This is an opportunity for domestic growers because in
that country the berries are products of great importance
for human consumption; in addition it is a wild fruit that
can easily be related to the cranberry because of its
appearance (Torres et al., 2009).
In a study conducted by Corantioquia (2003), it was
found that Andean berry is sold in health food stores and
supermarkets across a wide area in Columbia, supplied
from the capital Bogotá. The product sold in these stores
is packed in transparent bags in which the fruit is not
preserved in the best condition; nevertheless, a pound of
Andean berry can reach a value of US$7.80, while in
markets the price may be as low as US$2.60 (Corantio-
Andean berry consumption occurs in socioeconomic
strata of greater economic capacity, so the stores in which
the fruit is sold and the companies in which it is processed
typically require berries to be clean, whole, free from
damage by pests and diseases, of minimum size
6–8 mm, rounded off, and in a state of maturity estab-
lished for fresh consumption or for processing. These
requirements do not take into account that Andean berry
is not a crop as such. It is collected using traditional
methods which involve walking in nearby forests, identi-
fying the plants that are in production, harvesting the
fruits, taking them home, and selecting them, all of which
makes it very difﬁcult to meet strict quality criteria
(Torres et al., 2009).
The right conditions for Andean berry growth are:
altitude between 2000 and 3800 meters above sea level,
rainfall between 958 and 1350 mm per annum, tempera-
ture from 13.5 to 22.3 °C, solar radiation between 16.1 and
, soil pH between 4.4 and 5.4, and a soil rich in
organic, loose, porous material with an inclination of 50%
(Berazain, 1989; Ligarreto, 2009; Escobar Trujillo et al.,
2009). The soil for planting seeds consists of a mixture of
soil, sand, and commercial mycorrhizal products, in a
ratio of 7.5:1.5:1 respectively (Escobar-Trujillo et al.,
According to the Colombian National Herbarium, the
largest collections deposited are from the regions of
Antioquia, Magdalena, Sierra Nevada, and Santa Marta;
there also exist collections from Boyacá, Cauca,
Fruit and Vegetable Phytochemicals: Chemistry and Human Health, Volume II, Second Edition. Edited by Elhadi M. Yahia.
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Published 2018 by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
870 Fruit and Vegetable Phytochemicals
Cundinamarca, Huila, Nariño, Santander, and Valle del
Cauca, although in smaller quantity (Chaparro and
Becerra, 1995; Escobar-Trujillo, 2009). The most produc-
tive growing regions are Antioquia, Cundinamarca, and
Boyacá. The cultivation of fruit in unsuitable places
should aim to emulate wild conditions from those regions:
for example, the soil pH must be corrected with sulfur, the
levels of organic matter should be modiﬁed, and ﬂooding
and hard soil layers should be avoided by adding vegetable
bark or sawdust (Escobar-Trujillo et al., 2009).
The Andean berry is produced by a small shrub that
reaches 4 m high and 5 m in diameter, usually very
branched with rounded crown, and with leaves and
new branches of maroon and pale green. The leaves
are toothed with short petioles and stomata on the under-
sides. The ﬂowers are small, with different shades from
white to pink. Eight to ﬁfteen fruits are produced in
terminal clusters or are axillary, especially in the branches
located toward the middle and upper bush (Chaparro and
The fruit is a drupe with berry trend, characterized by a
ligniﬁed endocarp that comes from the inner epidermis of
the carpels, differentiated into a layer of disintegrating
sclereids in ripe fruit. The exocarp is formed from the
extracarpellar tissues surrounding the ovary. The outer
skin has a thick cuticle and is grooved, while the collen-
chymatous subepidermal tissue and the leaf are abundant
in anthocyanins. The mesocarp differs from mesophyll
carpels, and it constitutes, together with the placenta, the
edible part of the fruit, rich in sugars, tannins, and sclereids.
The size of the fruit varies from 5 to 20 mm and the
weight from 2.6 to 6.8 g (Chaparro and Becerra, 1995).
According to the color of the fruit, Buitrago-Guacaneme
et al. (2015) and Garcia-Carvajal (2015) have proposed six
states of maturation. These are numbered from 0 to 5 or 1
to 6, based on the color change from the epidermis; both
sets of authors agree that in the ﬁrst stage the fruit is
colored 100% green, which progresses to 100% red, and
ﬁnally, in its mature state ﬁt for human consumption,
darkens to purple.
Kader (2011) classiﬁes this fruit, according to its respi-
ratory behavior, as a climacteric fruit with moderate
breathing rate (10–20 mg CO
/(kg h)) and low ethylene
production (0.1–1.0 μLC
/(kg h)). The same author
categorizes blueberries as having low susceptibility post-
harvest, and Thiele (1999) recommends temperatures
between 1 and 2 °C for storage between 10 and 14
days. Low temperatures down to 0 °C during storage of
fruit and vegetable products reduce the activity of
enzymes involved in respiration, which have their opti-
mum activity at 36 °C (Adams and Early, 2004).
Keipert (1981) reports that Vaccinium berries can be
stored for up to 3 weeks in controlled atmospheres of 50%
and 1% O
, between 1 and 0 °C, and at 90–95%
relative humidity. For Andean berry storage up to 55 days
affects the appearance of the fruit because of water loss,
reducing the aroma and ﬂavor components attributed to
sugars, starch, organic acids, aromatic compounds, esters,
and alcohols (Rincón et al., 2012; Ávila Rodríguez et al.,
2007). Therefore, is recommended that stored Vaccinium
fruits should be eaten or processed very soon after leaving
the cold room because the quality begins to be affected
immediately (Keipert, 1981).
Andean berry can lose 5.5% of its weight and 2% of its
diameter during the ﬁrst 9 days of storage at 1–2°C. The
effect is greatest when the fruit is stored at 20 °C (37.3%
weight loss) for 30 days. The ﬁrmness of the fruit is
affected when the storage temperature is above 8 °C,
the best temperature being 1 °C (Ávila Rodríguez et al.,
2007; Rincón et al., 2012; García Carvajal, 2015). Loss of
water is the main cause of the deterioration of the fruit;
there is not only a quantitative loss (fresh weight) but also
qualitative losses in appearance, freshness, and texture,
together with a loss of nutritional quality (Kader, 2011;
Garcia Carvajal, 2015).
In 100 grams of fruit there are: 84.2–87.9% water,
3.5–6.1% protein, 1.0–4.7% fat, 16.2–17.4% ﬁber,
14.4–15.8% dry matter, 1.8–2.2% ash, 2.9–3.1% ethereal
extract, 42 kcal, 30 IU vitamin A, 0.014 mg vitamin B
0.0024 mg vitamin B
, 0012 mg vitamin B
, 12 mg vitamin
C, 0.2 mg niacin, 12 mg pantothenic acid, 2 mg sodium,
72 mg potassium, 14 mg calcium, 6 mg magnesium,
0.5 mg manganese, 0.5 mg iron, 0.6 mg copper, 10 mg
phosphorus, and 4 mg chlorine (Escobar Trujillo et al.,
2009; Infoagro Systems, 2017; García Carvajal, 2015).
The nutritional composition of the fruit may vary
depending on state of maturity, harvest period, soil con-
ditions, and processing. Our group analyzed the nutri-
tional content of pulp and freeze-dried powder of Andean
berry after 1 and 15 days of storage at 6°C (pulp) and
room temperature (freeze-dried powder). Table 40.1
shows that storage conditions did not signiﬁcantly affect
the characteristics analyzed. However, a signiﬁcant
increase in the value of total calories was observed in
the freeze-dried powder of Andean berry compared to the
pulp, which could be attributed to the increase in the
content of total carbohydrates.
The fruits of V. meridionale Swartz at maturity have a
high content of total soluble solids (TSS) at 12.6–15.2
degrees Brix (°Bx), pH 2.2–2.7, and moisture content
77–83% (Gaviria et al., 2009a, 2009b). However, these
features may change depending on the state of maturity
and storage conditions. The content of the SST in Andean
ripe berry does not vary signiﬁcantly over 9 days of storage
at 1–2°C. However, it decreased slightly during the ﬁrst 3
days (Ávila Rodríguez et al., 2007; Rincón Soledad et al.,
2012; García-Carvajal, 2015; Buitrago-Guacaneme et al.,
2015), probably as exhalation decreased and through high
87140 Andean Berry (Vaccinium meridionale Swartz)
Table 40.1 Physicochemical characteristics of Andean berry pulp stored at 4°C and freeze-dried powder stored at 28 °C, after
processing, at 1 day (time 1) and 15 days (time 2) storage.
Characteristics Pulp Freeze-dried powder
Time 1 Time 2 Time 1 Time 2
Acidity (pH, 20 °C) 2.9 ±0.10 2.8 ±0.2 – –
Sugar content (°Bx) 11.5 ±2.4 11.7 ±1.3 – –
Relative humidity (%) 83.4 ±1.5 83.6 ±3.3 7.0 ±3.9 7.6 ±2.9
Total ash (g/100 g) 0.3 ±0.08 0.3 ±0.03 1.8 ±0.1 1.8 ±0.01
Total fat (g/100 g) 0.2 ±0.2 0.1 ±0.3 1.5 ±0.4 1.3 ±0.1
Total protein (g/100 g) 1.2 ±1.4 1.2 ±1.4 4.7 ±1.2 4.6 ±0.8
Total carbohydrates (g/100 g) 14.9 ±1.9 14.8 ±2.2 85.1 ±4.9 84.8 ±3.7
Energy (kcal/100 g) 66.1 ±5.4 65.0 ±13.3 372.4 ±14.4 369.3 ±11.2
Total titratable acidity (%) 1.8 ±0.05 1.8 ±0.04 – –
rates of transpiration (Kays and Paull, 2004; Rincón
Soledad et al., 2012). After that time the fruit weight
decreased, and consequently the TSS content increased.
Moreover, when Andean berry is stored at 8 °C, the TSS
decreases to 9.6 °Bx (Ávila Rodríguez et al., 2007).
According to Figueroa et al. (2010), blueberries stored
at 4–5°C have a low to moderate respiratory rate, but this
increases signiﬁcantly at room temperature; a higher
respiration rate leads to faster changes in maturation,
including lowering TSS and reducing quality. According
to the above, storing the Andean berry fruits at 1 °C helps
to reduce the respiration rate and thus SST levels remain
higher (Rincón Soledad et al., 2012).
Regarding total titratable acidity (TTA) of Andean
berry, under 1–2°C storage this changes from 1.4% to
1.6% during the ﬁrst 3 days of storage, followed by a
reduction until day 9. Speciﬁcally the content of citric,
malic, and ascorbic acids during the ﬁrst 6 days of storage
of Andean berry varies very little; there is an increase until
day 9 of 52% for citric acid and 49% for malic acid, while
ascorbic acid is constant under these conditions (8 mg/
100 g) (Ávila Rodríguez et al., 2007; Rincón Soledad et al.,
2012; García-Carvajal, 2015). The TTA decrease in
Andean berry is more signiﬁcant (P<0.01) as the storage
temperature increases, possibly because the low temper-
atures reduce respiration (Kays and Paull, 2004) and thus
organic acids are used as respiratory substrates. This
variable is also affected during ripening: it can vary
from 2.2 to 3 (Buitrago-Guacaneme et al., 2015).
Although Andean berry has a sour taste, it is consumed
as fresh fruit or processed by hand in wine, jams, and
desserts, being an important source of poly (phenolic)
compounds (Zafra et al., 2007; Escobar Trujillo et al.,
2009; Barragan-García, 2011). This has contributed to
more and more people knowing and appreciating the
fruit, making it part of their regular diet every time
they think about eating an ice cream, a dessert, or a
favorite sauce to accompany meat or any other dish. It
also highlights that professional chefs are increasingly
interested in including Andean berry as a special ingredi-
ent to develop exotic dishes (Torres et al., 2009). In 2007,
the average amount of consumption of Andean berry for
making ice cream, sauces, and cakes reached up to 1 ton/
month. Domestic consumption in Colombia reached up
20 tons per year, with value more than US$135,000.
Nevertheless, new initiatives should be developed to
increase this market (Torres et al., 2009).
Berries from the Vaccinium genus are a source of poly
(phenolic) compounds, whose content varies according to
genetic factors (variety) and environment (cultivation
methods, soil and climatic conditions, harvest time),
which consequently affect their biological activity (Brown
et al., 2014). These bioactive compounds are metabolized
and excreted in humans. A substantial amount is not
absorbed and passes into the large intestine, where it
contacts directly with the colonic mucosa and/or is sub-
jected to fermentation microbiota. These result in the
production of numerous phenolic compounds; synergis-
tic interaction with fermentable carbohydrates and ﬁber
can enhance the chemoprotective capacity against car-
diovascular disease and some cancers (Johnson, 2004; Del
Rio et al., 2010).
The biological activity described for this fruit is based
on the non-ethanol extraction of Andean berry rich in
anthocyanins, which have shown cardioprotective activity
in rats during an ischemia-reperfusion process mediated
by reactive oxygen species (ROS) (Lopera et al., 2013).
It has also been reported that an aqueous extract of
Andean berry presented cytotoxic and antiprolifera-
tive activity against adenocarcinoma colon cells SW480
872 Fruit and Vegetable Phytochemicals
=59.12 mg/mL) and derived metastatic SW620
=56.10 mg/mL); these effects could be explained
partly by the high content of anthocyanins and phenolic
acids (Maldonado-Celis et al., 2014). Andean berry has
also been used as an ingredient in the preparation of
cosmetic formulations that inhibit the activity of the
enzymes collagenase and elastase in human ﬁbroblasts
stimulated with UVB (Guzmán and Cortázar, 2011).
The objective of this chapter is to present this fruit with
respect to its phytochemical content and the changes that
occur due to ripening, storage, and processing into other
edible forms of the fruit. In addition the ﬁndings on its
biological activity are reported, and research efforts into
its consumption factors and human health beneﬁts are
40.2 Phytochemical Composition:
Contents and Changes
The total phenolic content of ripe Andean berry reported
by Garzón et al. (2010) and Gaviria et al. (2009a),
expressed as gallic acid equivalents (GAE) in 100 g of
fresh weight (fw), was 758.6 and 609 mg GAE/100 g fw,
respectively. These values were lower than for V. ﬂori-
bundum from Ecuador (882 mg GAE/100 mg fw) (Vasco
et al., 2009) and higher than for northern highbush
blueberry (181–473), rabbiteye blueberry (230–457), low-
bush blueberry (290–495), and grapes (Vitis vinifera L.)
(151–246) (Guzmán-Chozas et al., 1997; Bush and Taylor,
1998; Prior et al., 1998; Halliwell, 2000; Shiow et al., 2007).
Moreover, the total phenol content increased rapidly
from the beginning of the maturity process, reaching its
maximum concentration on day 36 (4804 mg GAE/
100 g fw). After this time, the total phenol content decreased
by 71.4%; when the fruit advanced from the green stage to
dark purple, total phenol content overall decreased 57.4%
(Garzón et al., 2009; García Carvajal, 2015).
The accumulation of anthocyanin in Andean berry
occurs mainly in the epidermis from day 105. However,
its content is detectable only in the last stage of develop-
ment, from day 120. Gaviria et al. (2009b) reported the
total anthocyanin content, expressed as cyanidin-3-gly-
coside equivalents (C-3-G) in 100 g of fresh fruit. It
increases from 0.42 mg C-3-G/100 g fw to 271.9 mg C-
3-G/100 g fw at day 120, a value comparable to that
published by Garzón et al. (2010) for Andean berry
(329 mg C-3-G/100 g fw). Similar results were observed
by García Carvajal (2015) who reported a total anthocya-
nin content of 4.4 mg C-3-G/100 g fw for green Andean
berry (unripe) and 228 mg C-3-G/100 g fw for dark purple
The anthocyanin content of Andean berry compared
with other Vaccinium berries is high, for example:
northern highbush blueberry V. corymbosum
(92–235 mg C-3-G/100 g fw), rabbiteye blueberry V. ashei
(60–187), lowbush blueberry V. angustifolium (290–300),
deerberry V. stamineum (371–630), and V. ﬂoribundum
from Ecuador (345) (Prior et al., 1998; Kalt and Dufour,
1997; Capocasa et al., 2008; Wang and Ballington, 2007;
Vasco et al., 2009). Additionally, it has reported that there
is an inverse relationship between the content of poly-
phenols and that of anthocyanins present in Andean berry,
probably due to the role of polyphenols as substrates for
the synthesis of anthocyanins (García-Carvajal, 2015).
Five anthocyanins have been found in ripe Andean
berry from spectroscopic data, revealing the presence
of a typical glycosidic bond at position C-3 of the antho-
cyanidin. Low absorbance at 310–320 nm indicated the
presence of anthocyanins not acylated with hydroxylated
aromatic acids. Cyanidin-based anthocyanins repre-
sented 77% of the total anthocyanin content. The com-
parison of retention times and UV/Vis data with known
standards showed the presence of cyanidin-3-galactoside
as the major anthocyanin, representing 43% of the total
peak area, while cyanidin-3-glucoside and cyanidin-3-
arabinoside were also found; the two remaining peaks
were delphinidin-based anthocyanins according to UV/
Vis and MS/MS data. Table 40.2 summarizes the ﬁve
anthocyanins found by Garzón et al. (2010).
The anthocyanin composition of Colombian Andean
berry is in accordance with that of Andean blueberry from
Ecuador as described by Vasco et al. (2009), which con-
tains only cyanidin and delphinidin glycosides. Others
bilberries are sources of cyanidin, delphinidin, peonidin,
petunidin, and malvidin galactosides, the most abundant
being delphinidin and cyanidin glucosides and arabino-
sides (Määttä-Riihinen et al., 2004; Lätti et al., 2008).
In relation to other ﬂavonoids, quercetin glycosides
represent 100% of the total ﬂavonoids in Andean berry
(41.9 ±4.9 mg/100 g fw) (Garzón et al., 2010), a higher
value than for total ﬂavonoids in Finnish bilberries
(11.2 mg/100 g fw) (Määttä-Riihinen et al., 2004).
Table 40.2 Anthocyanins detected by HPLC in Andean berry
(V. meridionalez Swartz).
Tentative molecule identiﬁed
Source: Garzón 2010. Reproduced with permission of Elsevier.
87340 Andean Berry (Vaccinium meridionale Swartz)
Quercetin represents 72% of this value (8.1 mg/100 g fw)
with the remainder corresponding to myricetin –a proﬁle
similar to Andean berry from Ecuador (Garzón et al., 2010;
Vasco et al., 2009). Another ﬂavonoid identiﬁed is epica-
techin, which showed a decrease of 62.1% between state 1
(green) and state 6 (dark purple) but was detected in all
maturity stages of Andean berry (García Carvajal, 2015).
Garzón et al. (2010) also reported non-anthocyanin
phenolics from Andean berry, including hydroxycin-
namic acids (caffeoylquinic acid isomers 1 and 2, caffeoyl
methyl quinate, caffeic acid derivate isomers 1 and 2) and
ﬂavonols (quercetin hexoside, quercetin pentoside, quer-
cetin rhamnoside, quercetin hydroxymethylglutaryl-
α-rhamnoside) (Garzón et al., 2010). The total amount
of hydroxycinnamic acids obtained from Andean berry
was 99.2 ±6.7 mg/100 g fw; this is comparable to values in
European bilberries (113–231 mg/100 g fw) (Kähkönen
et al., 2001) and higher than those in Andean blueberry
from Ecuador (33.7 mg/100 g fw) (Vasco et al., 2009).
Chlorogenic acid detected was 86.1 mg of the total for
hydroxycinnamic acids (Garzón et al., 2010). Another
compound found in Andean berry is ellagic acid, which
increases by 81.1% from stage 1 (green) to stage 6 (dark
purple). Furthermore, the concentration of gallic acid has
been reported as increasing 93–99%, less than for ellagic
acid (García Carvajal, 2015).
40.3 Biological Effects of Andean Berry
Phytochemicals (Especially Health Effects,
and Only on This Fruit)
40.3.1 Antioxidant Activity
The species of Vaccinium are being recognized as rich in
phenolic compounds, particularly anthocyanins, whose
phenolic structure is responsible for their antioxidant
activity: that is, their ability to scavenge reactive species
(ROS and RNS) such as superoxide, singlet oxygen,
hydrogen peroxide, and hydroxyl radical.
Garzón et al. (2010) evaluated the antioxidant activity of
ripe Andean berry through the ABTS and FRAP methods
(values given as Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity,
TE). The ABTS value for total antioxidant capacity was
45.5 μmol TE/g fw; the ascorbic acid in the fruit
(0.94 μmol TE/g fw) represented 2.1% of that total. The
ABTS value for Andean berry was similar to that detected
by Vasco et al. (2009) for Andean berry from Ecuador and
by Kaur and Kapoor (2001) for blueberries (45.9 μmol TE/
g fw), but Colombian Andean berry was considerably
higher than Rubus species, which are considered antiox-
idant fruits (0–25.3 μmol TE/g fw) (Deighton et al., 2000).
On the other hand, the FRAP value was 87.3 μmol TE/g
fw or 116.3 μmol ferric iron reduced per gram fw (Garzón
et al., 2010), lower than V. myrtillus from the Paciﬁc
Northwest United States (Moyer et al., 2002). The FRAP
value of Andean berry has also been given in ascorbic acid
equivalents (AAE) as 581 mg AAE/100 g fw. This indi-
cates that Andean berry is a better reducing source than
most fruits reported by Botero et al. (2007) except banana
passion fruit (Passiﬂora mollissima) and blackberry.
The antioxidant activity of Andean berry has also been
evaluated by the DPPH method, with a value given as
2404 μM TE/100 g fw (Gaviria et al., 2009a). This is
slightly higher than reported for cranberries (1035) and
lower than that found in Andean blackberries from
Ecuador (4100) (Netzel et al., 2006; Vasco et al., 2008).
The FRAP reducing activity of the fruits has a similar
activity evaluated with the radical ABTS•
The FRAP value increases from day 1 to day 36 of Andean
berry growth. The proﬁle of antioxidant activity deter-
mined by these methods was similar to that observed for
total phenol content (TPC). The values of the correlation
coefﬁcients shown in Table 40.3 support these results.
The antioxidant capacity change during the maturity of
Andean berry is described by Gaviria et al. (2009b), who
showed that DPPH and ABTS values increased rapidly in
the ﬁrst weeks of ripening, reaching their maximum on
day 36, but decreased during the development of the fruit.
A similar behavior of TEAC antioxidant activity was
observed by García-Carvajal (2015), who described an
Table 40.3 Correlation coefﬁcient among antioxidant activity by DPPH-TEAC, ABTS-TEAC, FRAP, ORAC, and total phenolic content (TPC).
DPPH-TEAC ABTS-TEAC FRAP ORAC TPC
DPPH-TEAC 1 0.8225 0.8552 0.7841 0.8652
ABTS-TEAC 0.8225 1 0.9877 0.9193 0.9848
FRAP 0.8552 0.9877 1 0.8976 0.9934
ORAC 0.7841 0.9193 0.8976 1 0.9200
TPC 0.8652 0.9848 0.9934 0.9200 1
Source: Gaviria et al., 2009a (reprinted with permission of Revista Facultad Nacional de Agronomía–Medellín).
874 Fruit and Vegetable Phytochemicals
inverse relationship between the total polyphenol content
of fruit and the antioxidant activity TEAC during matu-
rity. On the other hand, the ratio of antioxidant activity to
the content of total anthocyanin was direct: it was higher
between the maturity states 4 (reddish purple) and 6 (dark
purple). This suggests that anthocyanin contributes to the
antioxidant capacity compared to other polyphenolic
compounds present in Andean berry (García-Carvajal,
2015). However, more robust evidence is required to
support this inference.
The ORAC value also varies throughout berry matura-
tion, reaching its maximum on day 17 (27,116 TE/
100 g fw), an increase faster than the total phenol content
and the activity found by DPPH, ABTS, and FRAP assays.
From the maximum value, the ORAC activity gradually
decreases and the behavior is opposite to that previously
observed for change in weight and fruit diameter (Gaviria
et al., 2009a, 2009b).
The values of correlation coefﬁcients in Table 40.3
show a high correlation between FRAP and ORAC values
(r=0.898, P<0.05), indicating that inhibition of radicals
by the compounds present is carried out by mechanisms
of hydrogen atom transfer (HAT) and single-electron
transfer (SET). The decrease in antioxidant activity during
development and maturation of Andean berry, and par-
ticularly the ORAC activity, is associated with protection
against peroxyl radicals. The decrease in antioxidant
protection systems in fruit can promote oxidative stress
and cell damage during the maturation process (Del Río
et al., 1998). Thus, the process of development and
maturation of Andean berry can be described as a process
of oxidative stress.
Maximum ORAC values and total phenol content in
initial and intermediate stages have also been observed.
For example, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, and cran-
berry present the highest ORAC values when the fruit is
green and the lowest when there is a pink color or full
maturity (Acosta et al., 2010; Çelik et al., 2008; Rodarte
et al., 2008; Wang et al., 2009; Wang and Lin, 2000).
The antioxidant capacity of Andean berry has been used
in the oxidative protection of stored corn oil for 10 days at
30 °C. Different concentrations of an extract rich in
anthocyanin of Andean berry were incubated with corn
oil, and the time to the formation of thiobarbituric acid
reactive substances (TBARS) in the treated oil was meas-
ured (Gaviria et al., 2009a). It was observed that the
extract had higher antioxidant activity compared to the
blank. Treatment with 750 μg/mL Andean berry antho-
cyanin extract reduced corn oil oxidation 19.6%. It
showed an inhibitory effect on the formation of TBARS,
indicating a capacity to protect the oil against oxidation,
but this value was lower than that obtained with butylhy-
droxytoluene (BHT), a positive control used at 500 mg/mL
(37.2%) (Gaviria et al., 2009a). These results were
consistent with various bibliographic reports for other
fruits (Siriwardhana and Jeon, 2004; Rojano et al., 2008).
Another strategy to apply the antioxidant capacity of
Andean berry was to develop a yogurt supplemented with
Andean berry syrup at 15% w/v (treatment 1) and 20% w/v
(treatment 2), which remained in storage at 4 °C for 20
days (Zapata et al., 2015). The antioxidant activity of the
yogurt was evaluated by the DPPH, FRAP, and ORAC
tests. The DPPH value increased in both supplemented
(treatment 1 and 2) and control yogurt (without Andean
berry syrup) between the ﬁrst 8 and 12 days of storage
(271.4, 412.9, and 265 μmol TE/L sample for treatment 1,
treatment 2, and control respectively). After day 12, a
decrease in DPPH value was observed in all cases.
Likewise, the treated samples showed an increase in
reducing power by FRAP between day 8 and 12 of storage,
reaching maximum values of 148.4 and 164 mg AAE/L
sample for treatment 1 and treatment 2, respectively. After
this, the FRAP value decreased for both samples. The
control yogurt did not change FRAP (20 mg AAE/L sample).
Regarding the ORAC value of the treated samples, this
increased from the ﬁrst 8 days of storage, reaching values
of 3688.9 and 3993 μmol TE/L sample for treatment 1 and
treatment 2, respectively. Thereafter, the ORAC value
decreased for both treatments. With respect to control
yogurt, the ORAC value was constant at 360.4 μmol TE/L.
To explain these results was necessary to analyze the
content of total phenols and anthocyanins; these are
considered directly responsible for the total antioxidant
activity of the samples because of their ability to donate
electrons and protons (Zapata et al., 2015).
The total phenol content in the yogurt control com-
pared to the supplemented yogurt showed a signiﬁcant
difference, but there was no difference between the
treated samples (treatments 1 and 2). The total phenol
content was negligible in the yogurt control compared
with the treated samples; this was to be expected, given
that the majority source of polyphenols in the supple-
mented yogurt was the fruit. The presence of total phenol
content in the control sample may be explained by the
presence of endogenous aromatic amino acids such as
tyrosine, tryptophan, and phenylalanine, which react
positively to the test for total phenols (Shah, 2000).
For the supplemented yogurt, the content of total
phenols and anthocyanins increased between the ﬁrst 8
and 12 days of storage. The increases were to maximum
concentrations of 68.5 and 166.1 mg GAE/L sample for
total phenol content and 23.2 and 24.9 mg C-3-G/L for
total anthocyanin content, for treatment 1 and treatment
2, respectively. Thereafter, the content of phenolic and
anthocyanin compounds decreased (Zapata et al., 2015).
For both treatments, there is a positive correlation
between the content of anthocyanins and the DPPH value
during storage (0.8 and 0.7 for treatments 1 and 2,
respectively). In this case, anthocyanins neutralize radi-
cals by mechanisms of SET favored by the DPPH method
(Prior et al., 2005; Zapata et al., 2015). For both treatments
there is a positive correlation between the phenol content
and FRAP value during storage (0.9 and 0.9 for treatments
1 and 2, respectively). FRAP reacts positively to antiox-
idant polyphenols and reducing substances such as simple
sugars that have nothing to do with antioxidant activity
(Zapata et al., 2015).
The correlations show that the reducing power may be
attributed to the Andean berry polyphenols present in
yogurt, and not to the reducing sugars that eventually lead
to false positives. Finally, there is a positive correlation
between the phenol content and the ORAC value during
storage for both treatments (0.7 and 0.9 for treatments 1
and 2, respectively) (Zapata et al., 2015). It well known
that FRAP and ORAC methods are SET and HAT mech-
anisms, respectively. Because the phenolic content main-
tained a close relationship with both methodologies, it can
be concluded that these metabolites show the ability to
neutralize free radicals by donating an electron or an atom
of hydrogen (Prior et al., 2005).
The previous study concluded that a yogurt supple-
mented with an Andean berry syrup and Lactobacillus
casei probiotic is a nutraceutical and nutritive food that is
beneﬁcial to human health, attributable to their antiox-
idant effect and probiotic content. In addition, human
consumption is recommended during the ﬁrst 8 days
following its preparation, because during this period there
occurs the highest microbiological count, the best anti-
oxidant activity, and the lowest proportion of physico-
chemical changes (Zapata et al., 2015).
40.3.2 Antiproliferative Activity
Species from genus Vaccinium such as V. uliginosum,V.
angustifolium,V. myrtillus, and V. macrocarpon Ait.
contain phytochemicals with antiproliferative activity
against cancer cell lines. The ﬁrst study based on anti-
cancer activity from cranberry extracts was published in
1996, in which was demonstrated the inhibition of poly-
amine synthesis and the induction of expression of the
enzyme quinone reductase (Bomser et al., 1996). Subse-
quently, an extract containing hydrosoluble phenols from
a commercial freeze-dried cranberry inhibited the cell
growth of HT-29, HCT-116, SW480, and SW620 colon
cancer cell lines. Zu et al. (2010) analyzed an extract
obtained from berry V. uliginosum which inhibited pro-
liferation of colon cancer cells COLO205 (IC
mL). In addition, in the preclinical cancer model in
rodents induced by azoxymethane or in the family model
of adenomatous polyposis (APCMin), anthocyanins
enriched extracts from cherry, grape, blueberry, and
40 Andean Berry (Vaccinium meridionale Swartz)
Aronia reduced by 45% to 89% the incidence of aberrant
crypt foci and adenomatous polyps (Cooke et al., 2006;
Lala et al., 2006; Harris et al., 2001).
Taken together, these ﬁndings led Maldonado-Celis
et al. (2014) to hypothesize that Andean berry from the
Vaccinium genus may also present anticancer activity
against colon cancer cells, as observed with extracts
obtained from other fruits belonging to Vaccinium.
This group evaluated the cytotoxic and antiproliferative
activity of an aqueous extract of Andean berry against
human colon adenocarcinoma (primary tumor) SW480
cells and their metastatic-derived cells SW620 isolated
from a mesenteric node in the same patient (Leibovitz
et al., 1976). The Andean berry aqueous extract showed a
cytotoxic effect higher than (73% and 78%), and IC
values similar to (59 and 56 μg/mL), those described
for these and other colon cancer cell lines using extracts
of berries from the genus Vaccinium.
The cytotoxic effect of Andean berry aqueous extract
against SW480 and SW620 cells was signiﬁcantly (p<0.05)
dose dependent at 25 to 400 μg/mL. The antiproliferative
activity of Andean berry aqueous extract was performed to
know whether the cytotoxic effect could be associated with
induction of cell death and/or suppression of cell prolifera-
tion. This was analyzed by using sulforhodamine B assay
after cell treatment with different concentrations (50 to
200 μg/mL) for 72 hours. The antiproliferative effect was
evidenced by a progressive decrease in cell growth of
SW480 and SW620 at different concentrations, reach-
ing an inhibition of 65.8% and 71% after 72 hours of
treatment at 200 μg/mL, respectively. Similar to the
cytotoxic effect, the inhibition of cell growth was higher
in SW620 cells than in SW480 cells; similar behavior
has been observed with other plant extracts in these cell
lines (Maldonado-Celis et al., 2009; Maldonado-Celis
and Raul, 2010; Lamy et al., 2008). These results indi-
cated that Andean berry contains phytochemical com-
pounds able to affect cell viability by reducing or
suppressing cell growth.
These ﬁndings were different to those observed by
Seeram (2004), who evaluated a total crude extract of V.
macrocarpon which inhibited by 35% the cell growth of
SW620 but not SW480. In contrast, an enriched extract of
anthocyanins obtained from V. myrtillus berry inhibited by
7% HT29 cell growth at 200 mg/mL, and by 34% and 3%
HCT116 at 4 mg/mL and 2 mg/mL, respectively (Zhao
et al., 2004; Katsube et al., 2003). Later, it was reported that
an enriched fraction of anthocyanins from V. ashei Reade
berry was more cytotoxic (IC
15–50 μg/mL) against
CaCo-2 and HT29 cells than fractions enriched in tannins
50–100 μg/mL) or phenolic acids (IC
(McDougall et al., 2008; Maldonado-Celis and Raul, 2010).
The components of V. meridionale berry extract
responsible for these effects against SW480 and SW620
876 Fruit and Vegetable Phytochemicals
cells are unknown. Given that our results were similar to
those using anthocyanin enriched fractions from different
Vaccinium berries against colon cancer cell lines, we
propose that the cytotoxic and antiproliferative effects
of V. meridionale berry on SW480 and SW620 cells may
be attributed to these polyphenols (McDougall et al.,
2008; Zhao et al., 2004; Katsube et al., 2003; Yi et al., 2005).
The anthocyanins are ﬂavonoids widely distributed and
of great importance for their chemopreventive activity
against colorectal cancer observed in vitro and in vivo
studies (Wang and Stoner, 2008). In addition, it is possible
that cytotoxic and antiproliferative effects against SW480
and SW620 cells may be produced by the synergistic
action of anthocyanins with other important compounds
present in V. meridionale berry, such as phenolic acids
which comprises 30% of dietary polyphenols (Ramos,
Yi et al. (2005) reported that a phenolic acid fraction of
rabbiteye blueberries inhibited by 50% HT29 and CaCo-2
cell growth at 1000 mg/mL for 72 hours of treatment,
which suggests low bioactivity. In contrast, chlorogenic
acid from apple and coffee inhibited by 50% HT29 cell
growth at 500 μmol/L and 289.2 μmol/L, respectively,
after 72 hours of treatment (Veeriah et al., 2006; Glei
et al., 2006). More recently, Thurow (2012) showed that
chlorogenic acid from prune (Prunus domestica L.) at
150 μmol/L reduced by 63% CaCo-2 cell growth after 24
hours of treatment. Other hydroxycinnamic acids and
derivates such as caffeic acid phenyl ester, ferulic acid,
p-coumaric acid, and caffeoylquinic acids have shown
anticarcinogenic activities against HT-29, CaCo-2,
SW480, and HCT116 involving cell-cycle arrest and
apoptosis (Huang et al., 2007; Janicke et al., 2011; Puang-
praphant et al., 2011; Wang et al., 2005).
The mechanisms involved in the antiproliferative activ-
ity of Andean berry polyphenols in aqueous extract are
also unknown, but it may be surmised that it occurs by
cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis, as mentioned. To answer
this question we are performing additional studies in our
laboratory to investigate whether cell-cycle arrest and
apoptosis may be involved in V. meridionale berry
induced cell death of colon tumor primary and metastatic
40.3.3 Cardioprotective Effect
To date only one study has evaluated a non-alcoholic
fermented extract of Andean berry in rats during an
ischemia-reperfusion process mediated by reactive oxy-
gen species (Lopera et al., 2013). This fermented extract
showed higher antioxidant capacity measured by DPPH
(23 μg caffeic acid equivalents (CAE) per mg dry weight
(dw) of extract), ABTS (73 μg AAE/mg dw), and FRAP
(220 μg C-3-G/mg dw) compared to Andean berry juice
(5, 24, and 72, respectively). The total phenol content
(49 μg CAE/mg dw) andanthocyanin (34 μg C-3-G/m g dw)
was higher (Lopera et al., 2013).
In isolated rat hearts, the treatment with fermented
non-alcoholic extract of Andean berry improved the
postischemic recovery of systolic and diastolic myocardial
function by increasing left ventricular developed pressure
when the coronary ﬂow was restored. At the same time, a
reduction of left ventricular end-diastolic pressure was
observed during reperfusion in hearts treated with the
fermented non-alcoholic extract of Andean berry; this
indicates that myocardial diastolic stiffness was minor in
the presence of the extract (Lopera et al., 2013).
On the other hand, this group found that thiobarbituric
acid reactive substances (TBARS) decreased and gluta-
thione increased from hearts treated with fermented non-
alcoholic extract of Andean berry, in comparison to the
control group (berry juice). These results indicate the
ability of the extract to attenuate oxidative stress. These
authors proposed from this study that Andean berry
extract could be a promising therapeutic alternative
against myocardial dysfunction. In addition, being a fer-
mented extract obtained from the berry, as a source of
polyphenol compounds it could ﬁnd use as a functional
food to prevent diseases associated with oxidative stress.
40.3.4 Skin Health and Aging
Guzmán and Cortázar (2011) evaluated the inhibitory
activity of Andean berry against elastase and collagenase
enzymes using an ethanol extract of the fruit or 5%
glycerin as a carrier. As a source of collagenase and
elastase activity, they used supernatants of human dermal
ﬁbroblasts (FDHα) exposed to UVB radiation for 2 min-
utes at a dose of 200 mJ/cm
with radiation intensity of
, and treated with the extracts for 20 minutes
at an effective concentration of 1000 ppm.
Dermal proteases such as collagenase and elastase
degrade extracellular matrix (ECM) in skin, and thus
favor the appearance of wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and
skin tone (Gelse et al., 2003). The exposure of skin to
ultraviolet (UV) radiation induces the degradation of
ECM proteins, including collagen, elastin, proteoglycans,
and ﬁbronectin (Fisher et al., 1997; Rittié and Fisher,
2002). It has been shown that UV radiation leads to
the formation of ROS, which activate the route of the
mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), which sub-
sequently induce expression and activation of metallo-
proteinase enzyme matrices (MMPs) in the skin
(Tibodeau, 2005). The MMPs overexpress in human
ﬁbroblasts within hours after exposure to UV radiation,
and therefore they are considered key factors in the
process of photoaging. Therefore, the identiﬁcation of
bioactive compounds or natural sources with the ability to
inhibit the major enzymes degrading the ECM are useful
in the development of effective anti-aging agents.
Guzmán and Cortázar (2011) found that the an ethanolic
extract of crude Andean berry or 9.5% glycerin Andean
berry extract inhibited collagenase activity present in UVB
stimulated FDHαsupernatants. Furthermore, the ethanol
or glycerin extract inhibited 20% and 69.1% of the enzyme
elastase activity under the same conditions of treatment of
the cells. These researchers also tested the activity of
ethanol extract with 5% glycerin from plant leaves of
Andean berry, whose inhibitory activity on the enzymes
collagenase and elastase was 40% and 63.5%, respectively.
Based on these ﬁndings, these authors performed a quali-
tative assessment of the effect of a facial cosmetic formu-
lation with leaf extract of Andean berry in volunteer
women aged 35 to 45 years, twice daily for 4 weeks.
They observed a signiﬁcant reduction in the appearance
of wrinkles. These results were attributed to the improved
solubility of secondary metabolites obtained from Andean
berry leaves present in the glycerin extract.
40.4 Future Directions
At present, our knowledge of the Andean berry fruit is
based on the phytochemical and physicochemical char-
acteristics in different storage conditions and during the
ripening process. This has established that it is a fruit rich
in phenolic compounds, mainly in anthocyanins, at levels
comparable with those of other fruits belonging to the
genus Vaccinium; it also has similar antioxidant capacity.
There is increasing interest in Andean berry because of
its potential dietary impacts on human health, its activity
against some chronic diseases such as speciﬁc cancers and
cardiovascular disease, its effect on skin aging, and its
antioxidant role as an ingredient for preservation or
supplementation. Research on all these aspects will
require directing today’s complex experimental designs
towards understanding the nutraceutical properties of
Challenges to be addressed include identifying the
mechanism of action of anthocyanins on colon cancer
cells or aged skin, and the links of antioxidant capacity
with the impact on cardiovascular host health. Investiga-
tion into dietary interventions in combination with
administration of Andean berry supplements (juice,
yogurt, etc.) should be carried out in preclinical and
clinical studies to determine their antioxidant, anticancer
effectiveness, anti-aging, and cardioprotective roles, lead-
ing to the formulation of the dose or portion of Andean
berry recommended to achieve the effects indicated in the
studies discussed here.
40 Andean Berry (Vaccinium meridionale Swartz)
For example, it is important to demonstrate the anti-
oxidant efﬁcacy of foods supplemented with Andean
berry, such as the yogurt made by Zapata et al. (2015).
Short-term studies in healthy volunteers who regularly
consume these foods will enable assessment of their
impact on serum antioxidant status after a period, as
observed with apple juice or tomato juice antioxidant
impact studies (Schnäbele et al., 2008; Yuan et al., 2011;
García-Alonso et al., 2012).
Research by our group is currently evaluating the
impact of Andean berry-based products on colorectal
cancer models and assessing the impact of these products
on the serum antioxidant status of healthy people via
modiﬁers on the colon microbiota. Other close collabo-
rators are assessing stability characteristics in bakery
products and exploring the changes of the content of
Andean berry compounds during postharvest or in the
processing of Andean berry for ice cream, juice, or jam.
This will contribute to increased consumption of the
fruit and improve postharvest strategies for achieving
higher quality fruit. Knowledge of the health beneﬁts of
Andean berry can be an added value of this agricultural
product, and in the long term will beneﬁt producers
through increasing demand for development of nutraceu-
ticals based on Andean berry that may be suitable for
populations at risk of cancer, skin diseases and aging, and
cardiovascular disease, and even for the healthy general
population as a preventative measure.
The fruit of Vaccinium meridionale, Andean berry, has six
stages of maturity based on the color of the skin, ranging
from green (unripe) to dark purple (mature).
The fruit’s levels of antioxidant activity and anthocya-
nins are comparable or superior to those of many other
Vaccinium berries. Therefore this fruit possesses great
marketing potential as a nutraceutical food or as fresh
fruit; it is a source of anthocyanins, natural antioxidants,
and natural colors, and is an ingredient in the develop-
ment of functional foods (beverages, yogurt, ice cream,
jams), products for skin care and protection, and food
additives to inhibit the oxidation of fats and oils. These
features make this berry a promising product for the
development of the Andean agribusiness.
This has motivated the study of the fruit’s biological
activity in the prevention of diseases associated with oxida-
tive stress such as skin aging, cancer, and cardiovascular
disease. However, to maintain this quality, as reﬂected in the
color, weight, diameter, pH, TSS, and TTA, the conditions
for proper postharvest preservation, in particular tempera-
ture and shelf life, must be fully understood because of the
climacteric character of the fruit.
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