Analysis of anthocyanin variation in wild populations of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) in Finland.J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Jan 09; 56(1):190-6.JA
The berries of Vaccinium myrtillus L. are characterized by 15 anthocyanins. To study the variation in the anthocyanins on a south-north axis of about 1000 km in Finland, the berries from 179 individual bilberry plants in 20 populations were analyzed using an optimized RP-HPLC-DAD method. The mean content of the total anthocyanins was 2878 mg/100 g dry weight. There was extensive variation in the anthocyanin contents within and between the populations, suggesting differences in berry raw material. A significantly lower content of the total anthocyanins was observed in the berries of the southern region compared to those in the central and northern regions. Differences in the proportions of anthocyanins were also observed. The delphinidin glycosides dominated in the northern berries whereas the cyanidin glycosides were most common in the southern ones. Exceptional bilberry individuals were found mainly from eastern Finland with very low amounts of anthocyanidin glucosides. This is the first systematic study to reveal the extremely high variation in the content and distribution of anthocyanins in wild bilberries.