Frozen blueberries pack more powerful antioxidant punch
Blueberries pack a powerful antioxidant punch, whether eaten fresh or from the freezer, according to South Dakota State University graduate Marin Plumb.
Measuring the phenolic content of the pigments in frozen vs. fresh blueberries gives the researchers a better idea of the fruit’s antioxidant capacity.
Anthocyanins, a group of antioxidant compounds, are responsible for the color in blueberries, she explains. Since most of the color is in the skin, freezing the blueberries actually improves the availability of the antioxidants.
The food science major from Rapid City, who received her bachelor’s degree in December, did her research as part of an honors program independent study project.
“Blueberries go head to head with strawberries and pomegranates in antioxidant capacity,” said professor Basil Dalaly, Plumb’s research adviser. In addition, blueberries are second only to strawberries, in terms of the fruits Americans prefer.
Blueberries are beneficial for the nervous system and brain, cardiovascular system, eyes and urinary tract, Dalaly explained. “Some claim it’s the world’s healthiest food.”
The United States produces nearly 84 percent of the world’s cultivated blueberries, an estimated 564.4 million pounds of blueberries in 2012, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center.
Since blueberries are frozen soon after they are picked, “they are equal in quality to fresh,” Plumb explained. She analyzed the anthocyanin content of blueberries frozen for one, three and five months and found no decrease in antioxidants over fresh berries.
The leaching that occurs from freezing actually increased the anthocyanin concentration, noted Plumb. “The ice crystals that form during freezing disrupt the structure of the plant tissue, making the anthocyanins more available.”
Antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, eliminate free radicals, which are produced through common biological reactions within the body and outside factors such as the sun, pesticides and other pollutants, Dalaly explained. If left to roam free, these free radicals can attack DNA, proteins and lipids resulting in cellular changes that lead to development of diseases such as cancer.
“They have a domino effect,” Dalaly said. “That is why we need to consume at least seven to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day.”
He teaches a course on phytochemicals—the naturally-occurring chemical compounds in fruits and vegetable, many of which have the potential to boost the immune system and impact diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. His advice is simple: “the greener, or redder, the better.”
Plumb called her undergraduate research project “a very good experience,’ noting that she learned to both ask and answer questions such as “why is this happening this way?” One of the surprises was that she had to use blueberries from Canada and Argentina because they were in season when she did her experimental work.
Plumb concluded: “Blueberries are a great food, very good for you.”
Food Science Program
Food science prepares students for professional positions in the food manufacturing industry or for graduate study. Food scientists apply science to the selection, preservation, processing, packaging, and distribution of food and use creative to develop new food products. Students train in state-of-the-art laboratory facilities. The program offers attractive internship opportunities within the food industry including international experiences. The food industry is searching for individuals interested in product development, technical sales, quality control and research.
About South Dakota State University
Founded in 1881, South Dakota State University is the state’s Morrill Act land-grant institution as well as its largest, most comprehensive school of higher education. SDSU confers degrees from eight different colleges representing more than 175 majors, minors and specializations. The institution also offers 29 master’s degree programs, 13 Ph.D. and two professional programs.
The work of the university is carried out on a residential campus in Brookings, at sites in Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City, and through Cooperative Extension offices and Agricultural Experiment Station research sites across the state.
Christie Delfanian | newswise
Exploring a new frontier of cyber-physical systems: The human body
18.05.2015 | National Science Foundation
Soft-tissue engineering for hard-working cartilage
18.05.2015 | Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.
Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...
Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services
To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...
The world's first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries has entered service in Norway. The ferry only uses 150 kWh per route, which...
On Tuesday, 19 May 2015 the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its home port in Bremerhaven, setting a course for the Arctic. Led by Dr Ilka Peeken from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) a team of 53 researchers from 11 countries will investigate the effects of climate change in the Arctic, from the surface ice floes down to the seafloor.
RV Polarstern will enter the sea-ice zone north of Spitsbergen. Covering two shallow regions on their way to deeper waters, the scientists on board will focus...
Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego developed a gel filled with toxin-absorbing nanosponges that could lead to an effective treatment for skin and wound infections caused by MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), an antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This "nanosponge-hydrogel" minimized the growth of skin lesions on mice infected with MRSA - without the use of antibiotics. The researchers recently published their findings online in Advanced Materials.
To make the nanosponge-hydrogel, the team mixed nanosponges, which are nanoparticles that absorb dangerous toxins produced by MRSA, E. coli and other...
20.05.2015 | Event News
18.05.2015 | Event News
12.05.2015 | Event News
22.05.2015 | Materials Sciences
22.05.2015 | Information Technology
22.05.2015 | Materials Sciences