Climate laboratory, Department of Arctic and Marine Biology, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Norway
Blueberries, bilberries, cranberries and other Vaccinium berries are recognized for the high levels of bioactive secondary metabolites, especially anthocyanin pigments. In addition to anthocyanins these berries also contain other flavonoids and phenolic compounds, which possess important defense and signaling roles and contribute the overall quality of developing berries. Many of these compounds have been shown to have beneficial properties for human health and there is an interest in increasing the production of these compounds in plants. Recently, new information has been achieved on the mechanisms related with developmental, environmental and genetic factors involved in the regulation of the metabolism of phenolic compounds in in Vaccinium berries. Especially light conditions and temperature have been shown to have a prominent role on composition of these compounds. Moreover, recently published transcriptome and genome databases provide new tools for breeding and for studying the biosynthesis of health beneficial compounds in Vaccinium species.
Keywords: Anthocyanins, berries, flavonoids, phenolic compounds.