The most studied form of chokeberry is Aronia melanocarpa (black berries), but other forms of the berry exits, including Aronia arbutifolia (red berries) and Aronia prunifolia (purple berries).
The majority of the science supporting the potential health benefits of A. melanocarpa relate to heart health (enhancing blood flow, normalizing blood clots, benefiting blood pressure), but other reported benefits include anti-inflammatory effects, antioxidant activity, and immunomodulatory effects. A study from the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism also indicated potential for sports nutrition (2005, Vol. 15, pp. 48-58).
The berries are grown extensively across Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, and Russia. According to the Agronomy Institute opened at Orkney College in the Scottish Isles, use of the berry was developed for enhancing the diets of Russian astronauts.
As reported recently by NutraIngredients-USA, Artemis International is leading the cultivation of aronia berries in the US, and currently provides domestic berries (as fresh berries, concentrate and powdered extract forms) to the B2B and B2C markets in the US and further afield.
The company’s president recently predicted that chokeberry extracts and concentrates could one day rival the cranberry market.
New data from Bradley Bolling and his team at UConn indicates that other varieties of the berries could also be of interest, given their ‘unique polyphenol profiles’.
“Underutilized aronia berries, such as A. arbutifolia and A. prunifolia, have unique polyphenol profiles warranting further investigation of their comparative nutraceutical and commercial values,” they wrote in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Dr Bolling and his co-workers characterized the polyphenols in black, purple, and red aronia, as well as ‘Viking’ (Aronia mitschurinii), which is said to be the predominant commercial aronia cultivar, which originated in Europe.
Results showed that, on a dry weight basis, the main anthocyanins were cyanidin-3-galactoside, with black aronia having the highest levels, ranging from (3.4 to 14.8 mg/g), and red aronia having the lowest levels, ranging from 0.5 to 0.8 mg/g.
“The color of black, purple, and red aronia berries was apparently due to the abundance of cyaniding anthocyanins rather than the presence of peonidin or petunidin anthocyanins or the variation of copigmenting polyphenols,” wrote the researchers.
“Black and purple aronia berries contained 1.9−17-fold more cyanidins than red accessions. In contrast, aronia proanthocyanidins and flavonoids were unrelated to berry color.
“Future analytical efforts should establish the extent that interplant differences, cultivation, environment, and yearly differences contribute to the variability in aronia polyphenols. Also, further effort is needed to distinguish aronia genotypes to more accurately compare polyphenol or other nutritionally relevant contents,” they concluded.
Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1021/jf402449q
“Underutilized Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa, Aronia arbutifolia, Aronia prunifolia) Accessions Are Rich Sources of Anthocyanins, Flavonoids, Hydroxycinnamic Acids, and Proanthocyanidins”
Authors: R. Taheri, B.A. Connolly, M.H. Brand, B.W. Bolling