|Authors: ||K. Fanning, D. Edwards, M. Netzel, R. Stanley, G. Netzel, D. Russell, B. Topp|
|Keywords: ||Prunus salicina, phytochemicals, antioxidants, functional food, health|
While plums are traditionally bred for fresh fruit traits such as size, sweetness, yield and disease resistance the Queensland Government breeding program for Japanese plum (Prunus salicina Lindl.) also selected for anthocyanin content to develop a new plum selection named ‘Queen Garnet’. When ripe or overripe, it has a near black skin and deep red flesh colour, which when combined, result in exceptionally high anthocyanin content, reaching up to 277 mg/100 g fruit.
The skin fraction contributes 36-66% of the total anthocyanin content of fruit.
The plum is now being commercially grown to be processed into a range of functional products from food colourants to premium health products.
These are sold on the basis of anthocyanin and antioxidant content.
Protocols for increasing anthocyanin content have therefore been researched to maximise the total anthocyanin yield rather than fresh fruit weight and taste.
The principal approach is through selective harvest of overripe plums high in colour, although post-harvest storage at 21°C results in further anthocyanin synthesis.
Modified processing is also required to ensure recovery of anthocyanins from the skin fraction.
The plum products have entered testing for assessing health properties beginning with an initial proof of in vivo bioavailability of the anthocyanins.
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