Harvest date affects aronia juice polyphenols, sugars, and antioxidant activity, but not anthocyanin stability

Research by Christine Peters

Harvest date affects aronia juice polyphenols, sugars, and antioxidant activity, but not anthocyanin stability.

Bolling BW1, Taheri R2, Pei R2, Kranz S2, Yu M2, Durocher SN3, Brand MH3.

Food Chem. 2015 Nov 15;187:189-96.


The goal of this work was to characterize how the date of harvest of ‘Viking’ aronia berry impacts juice pigmentation, sugars, and antioxidant activity. Aronia juice anthocyanins doubled at the fifth week of the harvest, and then decreased. Juice hydroxycinnamic acids decreased 33% from the first week, while proanthocyanidins increased 64%. Juice fructose and glucose plateaued at the fourth week, but sorbitol increased 40% to the seventh harvest week. Aronia juice pigment density increased due to anthocyanin concentration, and polyphenol copigmentation did not significantly affect juice pigmentation. Anthocyanin stability at pH 4.5 was similar between weeks. However, addition of quercetin, sorbitol, and chlorogenic acid to aronia anthocyanins inhibited pH-induced loss of color. Sorbitol and citric acid may be partially responsible for weekly variation in antioxidant activity, as addition of these agents inhibited DPPH scavenging 13-30%. Thus, aronia polyphenol and non-polyphenol components contribute to its colorant and antioxidant functionality.


This study has the tremendous potential to inform growers of optimum harvest time and, more importantly, give clues as to the determination of that time. In reading it, you’ll see beverage industry standards were kept in mind.  Moreover, inclusion of pH measurements in the study is an important consideration for the beverage industry as well as researchers, and for establishing claims about the health benefits of Aronia juice.


Aronia berry (Aronia mitschurinii ‘Viking’) inhibits colitis in mice and inhibits T cell tumour necrosis factor-α secretion

Derek A.Martinab1Joan A.SmythcdZhenhuaLiueBradley W.Bollingab1

Journal of Functional Foods

Volume 44, May 2018, Pages 48-57


Aronia berries are rich in polyphenols with anti-inflammatory activity. We hypothesized that aronia berry consumption modulates intestinal immune function and T cells. The aims of the present work were to assess the immunomodulatory potential of ‘Viking’ aronia berry (black chokeberry, Aronia mitschurinii) in vivo and to determine the extent aronia berry polyphenols or known microbial polyphenol catabolites inhibit T cell tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α in vitro. Aronia berry consumption increased colonic IL-10 secretion in healthy mice, but did not inhibit ex vivo cytokine secretion of lipopolysaccharide-stimulated spleen and colon tissue. Aronia berry consumption inhibited wasting associated with T cell adoptive transfer and dextran sulphate sodium induced colitis. Aronia extracts, neutral phenols fraction, and the polyphenol catabolites 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylpropionic acid inhibited TNF-α production in Jurkat T cells. Therefore, T cells and microbial catabolism partly mediate the anti-inflammatory effects of aronia consumption in the colon.


This thorough study is of particular importance to researchers studying Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) which consists of Crohn’s and Ulcerative colitis. The escalating costs of treatment for these diseases drives the need for functional foods and translational medicine.  Of particular interest in this study is the measurement of pro-inflammatory cytokines.


Anti-inflammatory effects of aronia extract on rat endotoxin-induced uveitis.

Ohgami K1, Ilieva I, Shiratori K, Koyama Y, Jin XH, Yoshida K, Kase S, Kitaichi N, Suzuki Y, Tanaka T, Ohno S.

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2005 Jan;46(1):275-81.



Aronia crude extract (ACE) with high levels of polyphenol compounds has been reported to have antioxidative effects in vitro and in vivo. In this study, attention was focused on the antioxidant effect of ACE. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of ACE on endotoxin-induced uveitis (EIU) in rats. In addition, the endotoxin-induced expression of the inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 proteins was investigated in a mouse macrophage cell line (RAW 264.7) treated with ACE in vitro, to clarify the anti-inflammatory effect. METHODS:

EIU was induced in male Lewis rats by a footpad injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Immediately after the LPS inoculation, 1, 10, or 100 mg ACE or 10 mg prednisolone was injected intravenously. After 24 hours, the aqueous humor was collected from both eyes, and the number of infiltrating cells, protein concentration, nitric oxide (NO), prostaglandin (PG)-E2, and TNF-alpha levels in the aqueous humor were determined. RAW 264.7 cells treated with various concentrations of ACE were incubated with 10 mug/mL LPS for 24 hours. Levels of NO, PGE2, and TNF-alpha were determined by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The expression of iNOS and COX-2 proteins was analyzed by Western blot analysis.


The number of inflammatory cells, the protein concentrations, and the levels of NO, PGE2, and TNF-alpha in the aqueous humor in the groups treated with ACE were significantly decreased in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, the anti-inflammatory effect of 100 mg ACE was as strong as that of 10 mg prednisolone. The anti-inflammatory action of ACE was stronger than that of either quercetin or anthocyanin administered alone. ACE also suppressed LPS-induced iNOS and COX-2 protein expressions in RAW 264.7 cells in vitro in a dose-dependent manner.


The results suggest that ACE has a dose-dependent anti-ocular inflammatory effect that is due to the direct blocking of the expression of the iNOS and COX-2 enzymes and leads to the suppression of the production of NO, PGE2, and TNF-alpha.


Studies such as this one are of vital importance to Crohn’s patients as they are susceptible to systemic inflammation. Inflammation that can lead to vision loss if of considerable concern. This studies discusses the good possibility of Aronia crude extract providing significant anti-inflammatory properties.


Extracts, anthocyanins and procyanidins from Aronia melanocarpa as radical scavengers and enzyme inhibitors.

Bräunlich M1, Slimestad R, Wangensteen H, Brede C, Malterud KE, Barsett H.

Nutrients. 2013 Mar 4;5(3):663-78.


Extracts, subfractions, isolated anthocyanins and isolated procyanidins B2, B5 and C1 from the berries and bark of Aronia melanocarpa were investigated for their antioxidant and enzyme inhibitory activities. Four different bioassays were used, namely scavenging of the diphenylpicrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical, inhibition of 15-lipoxygenase (15-LO), inhibition of xanthine oxidase (XO) and inhibition of α-glucosidase. Among the anthocyanins, cyanidin 3-arabinoside possessed the strongest and cyanidin 3-xyloside the weakest radical scavenging and enzyme inhibitory activity. These effects seem to be influenced by the sugar units linked to the anthocyanidin. Subfractions enriched in procyanidins were found to be potent α-glucosidase inhibitors; they possessed high radical scavenging properties, strong inhibitory activity towards 15-LO and moderate inhibitory activity towards XO. Trimeric procyanidin C1 showed higher activity in the biological assays compared to the dimeric procyanidins B2 and B5. This study suggests that different polyphenolic compounds of A. melanocarpa can have beneficial effects in reducing blood glucose levels due to inhibition of α-glucosidase and may have a potential to alleviate oxidative stress.


Oxidative stress is considered one of the factors that affects patients who suffer from auto-immune diseases. Often, patients suffer from multiple auto-immune diseases, and while a well-managed medication schedule can ameliorate symptoms, they often need immune health support. This study may lead to additional treatment via Aronia supplementation.  


Consumption of chokeberry (Aronia mitschurinii) products modestly lowered blood pressure and reduced low-grade inflammation in patients with mildly elevated blood pressure.

Loo BM1, Erlund I2, Koli R3, Puukka P4, Hellström J5, Wähälä K6, Mattila P5, Jula A7.

Nutr Res. 2016 Nov;36(11):1222-1230.


Previous studies suggest that consumption of chokeberries may improve cardiovascular disease risk factor profiles. We hypothesized that chokeberries (Aronia mitschurinii) have beneficial effects on blood pressure, low-grade inflammation, serum lipids, serum glucose, and platelet aggregation in patients with untreated mild hypertension. A total of 38 participants were enrolled into a 16-week single blinded crossover trial. The participants were randomized to use cold-pressed 100% chokeberry juice (300 mL/d) and oven-dried chokeberry powder (3 g/d), or matched placebo products in random order for 8 weeks each with no washout period. The daily portion of chokeberry products was prepared from approximately 336 g of fresh chokeberries. Urinary excretion of various polyphenols and their metabolites increased during the chokeberry period, indicating good compliance. Chokeberries decreased daytime blood pressure and low-grade inflammation. The daytime ambulatory diastolic blood pressure decreased (-1.64 mm Hg, P = .02), and the true awake ambulatory systolic (-2.71 mm Hg, P = .077) and diastolic (-1.62 mm Hg, P = .057) blood pressure tended to decrease. The concentrations of interleukin (IL) 10 and tumor necrosis factor α decreased (-1.9 pg/mL [P = .008] and -0.67 pg/mL [P = .007], respectively) and tended to decrease for IL-4 and IL-5 (-4.5 pg/mL [P = .084] and -0.06 pg/mL [P = .059], respectively). No changes in serum lipids, lipoproteins, glucose, and in vitro platelet aggregation were noted with the chokeberry intervention. These findings suggest that inclusion of chokeberry products in the diet of participants with mildly elevated blood pressure has minor beneficial effects on cardiovascular health.


Since cardiovascular health is a wide-spread concern in the United States, the effect of Aronia extracts on blood-pressure is important. While this disease focused on mild hypertension, the impact of Aronia was statistically significant, and therefore merits further research.