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Fruit nutraceutical value in ancient apple cultivars grown in Piedmont (Northern Italy)

Donno, D., Galizia, D., Cerutti, A.K.
Acta horticulturae 2012 no.940 pp. 131-138
antioxidant activity, apples, ascorbic acid, cultivars, dehydroascorbic acid, environmental factors, fruit quality, fruits, functional foods, greenhouse gases, piedmont, spectrophotometers, vitamin content, Italy
The study of ancient fruit germplasm quality is an important means of developing biological resources linked to the natural environment and preventing the loss of important and unconventional fruit quality traits. The aim of this research was to study the nutraceutical value of fruits from ancient apple cultivars suitable to be reintroduced into production in order to expand the typical produce supply and satisfy the ever growing consumer’s quality requests. The following parameters were studied: total polyphenol content, according to the spectrophotometric method proposed by Slinkard and Singleton (1977), antioxidant activity, according to the spectrophotometric method (Pellegrini et al., 2003), and the content in vitamin C, analyzed according to the High Performance Liquid Cromatographic methods coupled with a Diode Array Detector of Sanchez et al. (2003) and Gil et al. (1999). Compared with the reference commercial apple cultivar ‘Golden Delicious’, the ancient cultivars shown, in general, higher values of total polyphenolic compounds and a stronger antioxidant activity. Also the content in vitamin C (ascorbic acid plus dehydroascorbic acid) differed from ‘Golden Delicious’, even if these parameters may however vary depending on the environmental conditions and agrotechnique. The nutraceutical content of fruits of the ancient cultivars can become an important tool to distinguish the value of these cultivars in order to obtain label certification. Moreover, high quality local productions represent a greenhouse gasses (GHG) emissions resource, one way to become environmentally friendly.