Chemical components of berry fruits
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2007 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Berries are universally recognized as having a basic chemical composition that accentuates their sweet taste, fruity aroma, and healthy properties that are enjoyed by societies throughout the world. Berries are soft fruits that range in color from red to blue or black. They a good source of essential vitamins and minerals, and have diverse phytochemical compositions that relate to consumer satisfaction and health. The chemical composition of berry fruits can be highly variable depending on the cultivar, growing location, ripeness stage, and harvest and storage conditions because of their generally nonclimacteric nature with respect to their production and response to ethylene. In addition, the environmental conditions of growth can be a major factor impacting overall fruit quality. Although numerous chemical parameters relate to berry quality, identifying specific quality factors beyond simple sugar content is difficult because there are numerous factors that relate to consumer acceptance. However, the overall quality of many berry types is attributable to harvesting at the maximal level of ripeness when fruits have their highest sugar and aroma content. Other factors include a proper sugar/acid balance, firm texture, volatile aroma profile, and external color derived from anthocyanins, which generally relate to consumers perception of quality. Once consumed, the nutritional benefits of berries are realized from their carbohydrate, vitamin, mineral, dietary fiber, and polyphenolic concentrations. Different varieties of berries contain highly variable concentrations of ascorbic acid, folic acid, select minerals, carotenoids, and a diversity of polyphenolics that impact color, taste, and nutrition. Berries are generally low in calories and high in dietary fiber and contain only small amounts of fat and protein (Table 2.1). Fruit and vegetable consumption has been widely associated with decreased incidences of chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease and cancer. With national trends to increase fruit, vegetable, and whole grain consumption, berries provide an important source of chemical compounds essential for human health.
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Berry Fruit: Value-Added Products for Health Promotion