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Bioactive compounds in sweet cherries: identification, quantification and distribution in different cherry cultivars

Gonzalez-Gomez, D.
Acta horticulturae 2017 no.1161 pp. 483-490
Prunus avium, anthocyanins, antioxidants, bioactive compounds, cherries, cultivars, flavonols, free radicals, melatonin, neutralization, physicochemical properties, phytopharmaceuticals, pollinators, procyanidins, secondary metabolites, serotonin, vegetables
The healthy properties due to the regular consumption of fruit and vegetables have been extensively reported before. Different studies have established a direct correlation between the healthy properties and the presence of bioactive compounds in the vegetable products. Bioactive compounds or phytochemicals are secondary metabolites of plants that are synthetized to accomplish a diverse number of functions in plants, among them; they play an important role in plant defense, to attract pollinators or to promote the adaptability between the plant and the environment in which it is growing. For this reason, different authors have established that these bioactive compounds are a shield between the plant and environment. Although they have a great variability, in terms of structure and chemical properties, bioactive compounds are characterized for being potent antioxidants. Thus, these compounds are able to neutralize free radicals reducing the oxidative damages that they cause to cell material, being that the main health property associated with the consumption of fruit and vegetables. Sweet cherries are characterized for having an important amount of bioactive compounds, mostly polyphenols (hydroxycinnamates, flavonols, procyanidins and anthocyanins) together with indolamines such as melatonin and serotonin. Based on that, this communication pretends to review the presence of bioactive compounds in sweet cherries, and how their concentrations are altered according to the pre- and postharvest conditions. Finally, different assays to evaluate the healthy properties of the bioactive compounds in sweet cherries are as well reviewed.