Blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) are valued for their high nutritional quality and flavor. There are five species in the Vaccinium genus native to the state of Florida, but only three are palatable to humans: V. myrsinites, V. darrowii, and V. corymbosum. While V. darrowii has been studied extensively due to its successful hybridization with northern highbush blueberry cultivars, V. myrsinites and wild V. corymbosum have been understudied. This study aims to 1) quantify the abundance of various phytochemicals in fruits of these wild blueberry species and compare fruit quality both among the wild taxa and two varieties of cultivated blueberries (V. corymbosum) and 2) compare the variation of fruit traits across sampling sites. Wild berries were collected from seven different sites across Central Florida, and cultivated berries were collected from a local blueberry farm. Chemical analyses scored for titratable acidity, sugar content, phenolic content, and anthocyanin content. Additionally, measurements were taken for fruit size and water content. Results indicated that V. myrsinites has the highest sugar content and a significantly higher sugar:acid ratio than all other sample types. V. corymbosum and V. myrsinites had similarly high total phenolic concentrations. V. corymbosum had the highest anthocyanin concentration. This exploratory analysis provides new insight into the phytochemical profiles of understudied native Florida blueberries with applications to blueberry breeding efforts.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Khalid, Anisa, "Investigating the Phytochemical Profiles of Wild and Cultivated Blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) in Central Florida" (2022). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 1286.