Modeling Through Artificial Neural Networks of the Phenolic Compounds and Antioxidant Activity of Blueberries

Document Type: Research Article


1 CI&DETS, Polytechnic Institute of Viseu, Campus Politécnico, Viseu, Portugal; CITAB, University of Trás-Os-Montes, Vila Real, PORTUGAL

2 Dep. Food Industry, ESAV, Quinta da Alagoa, Viseu, PORTUGAL

3 CI&DETS, Polytechnic Institute of Viseu, Campus Politécnico, Viseu, PORTUGAL

4 Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, ESTGOH, Oliveira do Hospital, Portugal; Institute of Systems and Robotics, FCTUC-DEEC, University of Coimbra, PORTUGAL


The present study aimed at investigating the influence of several production factors, conservation conditions, and extraction procedures on the phenolic compounds and antioxidant activity of blueberries from different cultivars. The experimental data was used to train artificial neural networks, using a feed-forward model, which gave information about the variables affecting the antioxidant activity and the concentration of phenolic compounds in blueberries. The ANN input variables were location, cultivar, the age of the bushes, the altitude of the farm, production mode, state, storage time, type of extract and order of extract, while the output variables were total phenolic compounds, tannins as well as ABTS and DPPH antioxidant activity. The ANN model was fairly good, with values of the correlation factor for the whole dataset varying from 0.948 to 0.979, while the values of mean squared error were ranging from 0.846 to 0.018, for DPPH antioxidant acidity and anthocyanins, respectively.  The results obtained showed that the methanol extracts contained higher amounts of total phenols and anthocyanins as compared to acetone: water extracts, while presenting similar quantities of tannins in both extracts. The blueberries from organic farming were richer in phenolic compounds and possessed higher antioxidant activity than those from conventional agriculture. Even though the effect of storage was not established with high certainty, a trend was observed for an increase in the phenolic compounds and antioxidant activity along storage, either when under refrigeration or under freezing, for the storage periods evaluated.


Main Subjects

[1] Cardeñosa V., Girones-Vilaplana A., Muriel J.L., Moreno D.A., Moreno-Rojas J.M., Influence of Genotype, Cultivation System and Irrigation Regime on Antioxidant Capacity and Selected Phenolics of Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum L.), Food Chemistry, 202: 276–283 (2016).

[3] Fachinello J.C., Mirtilo, Revista Brasileira de Fruticultura, 30(2): 0–0 (2008).

[4] Gonçalves C., Guiné R.P.F., Costa D.V.T.A., Gonçalves F.J., Evaluation of Bioactive Phenols in Blueberries from  Different Cultivars, International Journal of Biological, Food, Veterinary and Agricultural Engineering, 9(4): 281–284 (2015).

[6] Mammadov R., Ili P., Vaizogullar H., Makascı A., Antioxidant Activity and Total Phenolic Content of Gagea fibrosa and Romulea Ramiflora, Iranian Journal of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering (IJCCE), 30(3): 57–62 (2011).

[8] Pérez-Gregorio M.R., Regueiro J., Simal-Gándara J., Rodrigues A.S., Almeida D.P.F., Increasing the Added-Value of Onions as a Source of Antioxidant Flavonoids: A Critical Review, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 54(8): 1050–1062 (2014).

[9] Taherkhani R., Chemical Investigation and Protective TEMPEffects of Bioactive Phytochemicals from Artemisia ciniformis, Iranian Journal of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering (IJCCE), 35(2): 15–26 (2016).

[10] Mammadov R., Makasçı - Afacan A., Uysal - Demir D., Görk C., Determination of Antioxidant Activities of Different Urginea maritima (L.) Baker Plant Extracts, Iranian Journal of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering (IJCCE), 29(3): 47–53 (2010).

[14] Norberto S., Silva S., Meireles M., Faria A., Pintado M., Calhau C., Blueberry Anthocyanins in Health Promotion: A metabolic Overview, Journal of Functional Foods, 5(4): 1518–1528 (2013).

[15] Cardeñosa V., Medrano E., Lorenzo P., Sánchez-Guerrero M.C., Cuevas F., Pradas me., Moreno-Rojas J.M., TEMPEffects of Salinity and Nitrogen Supply on the Quality and Health-Related Compounds of Strawberry Fruits (Fragaria × ananassa cv. Primoris), Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 95(14), 2924–2930 (2015).

[16] Sandhu H.S., Wratten S.D., Cullen R., Organic Agriculture and Ecosystem Services, Environmental Science & Policy, 13(1): 1–7 (2010).

[17] Galarça S., Cantillano R., Schunemamn A., Lima C.: “Influência da Atmosfera Controlada no Sabor do Mirtilo “bluegem” em Armazenamento Refrigerado”, Universidade Federal Pelotas, Brasil (2008).

[18] Retamales J.B., Mena C., Lobos G., Morale, Y., A Regression Analysis on Factors Affecting Yield of Highbush Blueberries, Scientia Horticulturae, 186: 7–14 (2015).

[19] Severo J., Galarça S.P., Aires R.F., Cantillano R.F.F., Rombaldi C.V., Silva J.A., Phenolic Compounds, Anthocyanins, Antioxidant Capacity and Vitamin C in Blueberries Stored under Controlled Atmosphere, Brazilian Journal of Food Technology, 12(Supl. II SSA), 65–70 (2009).

[20] Sargolzaei J., Saghatoleslami N., Mosavi S., Khoshnoodi M., Comparative Study of Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) and Statistical Methods for Predicting the Performance of Ultrafiltration Process in the Milk Industry, Iranian Journal of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering (IJCCE), 25(2): 67–76 (2006).

[22] Simić V.M., Rajković K.M., Stojičević S.S., Veličković D.T., Nikolić N.Č., Lazić M.L., Karabegović me.T., Optimization of Microwave-Assisted Extraction of Total Polyphenolic Compounds from Chokeberries by Response Surface Methodology and Artificial Neural Network, Separation and Purification Technology, 160: 89–97 (2016).

[23] Guiné R.P.F., Barroca M.J., Gonçalves F.J., Alves M., Oliveira S., Mendes M., Artificial Neural Network Modelling of the Antioxidant Activity and Phenolic Compounds of Bananas Submitted to Different Drying Treatments, Food Chemistry, 168: 454–459 (2015).

[24] Santos W.N.L. dos, da Silva Sauthier M.C., dos Santos A.M.P., de Andrade Santana D., Almeida Azevedo R.S., da Cruz Caldas J., Simultaneous Determination of 13 Phenolic Bioactive Compounds in Guava (Psidium guajava L.) by HPLC-PAD with Evaluation Using PCA and Neural Network Analysis (NNA), Microchemical Journal, 133: 583–592 (2017).

[25] Gonçalves F.J., Rocha S.M., Coimbra M.A., Study of the Retention Capacity of Anthocyanins by Wine Polymeric Material, Food Chemistry, 134, 957–963 (2012).

[26] Santos S.C.R.V.L., Guiné R.P.F., Barros A., TEMPEffect of Drying Temperatures on the Phenolic Composition and Antioxidant Activity of Pears of Rocha Variety (Pyrus communis L.), Journal of Food Measurement and Characterization, 8(2), 105–112 (2014).

[27] Boulton R., The Copigmentation of Anthocyanins and Its Role in the Color of Red Wine: A Critical Review, American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, 52: 67–87 (2001).

[28] Ribereau-Gayon P., Stonestreet E., Dosage Des Tanins du Vin Rouge et Determination de Leur Structure, Chimie Analitique, 48: 188–196 (1966).

[29] Brand-Williams W., Cuvelier M.E., Berset C., Use of a Free Radical Method to Evaluate Antioxidant Activity, LWT - Food Science and Technology, 28(1): 25–30 (1995).

[30] Miller N.J., Rice-Evans C., Davies M.J., Gopinathan V., Milner A., A Novel Method for Measuring Antioxidant Capacity and Its Application to Monitoring the Antioxidant Status in Premature Neonates, Clinical Science, 84(4): 407–412 (1993).

[31] Meneses N.G.T., Martins S., Teixeira J.A., Mussatto, Influence of Extraction Solvents on the Recovery of Antioxidant Phenolic Compounds from Brewer’s Spent Grains, Separation and Purification Technology, 108: 152–158 (2013).

[32] Kampuse S., Šnē E., Sterne D., Krasnova me., Chemical Composition of Highbush Blueberry Cultivars, Latvian Journal of Agronomy (Latvia), 12(1):53-59 (2009).

[33] Howard L.R., Clark J.R., Brownmiller C., Antioxidant Capacity and Phenolic Content in Blueberries as Affected by Genotype and Growing Season, Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 83: 1238–1247 (2003).

[34] Moyer R.A., Hummer K.E., Finn C.E., Frei B., Wrolstad R.E., Anthocyanins, Phenolics, and Antioxidant Capacity in Diverse Small Fruits: Vaccinium, Rubus, and Ribes, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 50(3): 519–525 (2002).

[35] Gündüz K., Serçe S., Hancock J.F., Variation Among Highbush and Rabbiteye Cultivars of Blueberry for Fruit Quality and Phytochemical Characteristics,. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 38: 69–79 (2015).

[36] Prior R.L., Cao G., Martin A., Sofic E., McEwen J., O’Brien C., Lischner N., Ehlenfeldt M., Kalt W., Krewer G., Mainland C.M., Antioxidant Capacity As Influenced by Total Phenolic and Anthocyanin Content, Maturity, and Variety of Vaccinium Species, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 46(7): 2686–2693 (1998).

[37] Dragović-Uzelac V., Savić Z., Brala A., Levaj B., Kovačević D.B., Biško A., Evaluation of Phenolic Content and Antioxidant Capacity of Blueberry Cultivars (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) Grown in the Northwest Croatia, Food Technology and Biotechnology, 48: 214–221 (2010).

[38] Eichholz me., Huyskens-Keil S., Keller A., Ulrich D., Kroh L.W., Rohn S., UV-B-induced Changes of Volatile Metabolites and Phenolic Compounds in Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum L.), Food Chemistry, 126(1): 60–64 (2011).

[39] Granelli G., Mariani L., Parisi S., Eccher T., Ughini, V., Lo Scalzo R., Buccheri M., Cortellino G., Influence of Genotype, Location and Year Factors on Quality and Health Promoting Compounds of Rubus Fruits. Acta Horticulturae, 926: 697–704 (2012).

[40] Fernandes V.C., Domingues V.F., de Freitas V., Delerue-Matos C., Mateus N., Strawberries from Integrated Pest Management and Organic Farming: Phenolic Composition and Antioxidant Properties, Food Chemistry, 134(4): 1926–1931 (2012).

[41] You Q., Wang B., Chen F., Huang Z., Wang X., Luo P.G., Comparison of Anthocyanins and Phenolics in Organically and Conventionally Grown Blueberries in Selected Cultivars, Food Chemistry, 125(1): 201–208 (2011).

[42] Wang S.Y., Chen C.-T., Sciarappa W., Wang C.Y., Camp M.J., Fruit Quality, Antioxidant Capacity, and Flavonoid Content of Organically and Conventionally Grown Blueberries, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 56(14): 5788–5794 (2008).

[43] Yuan W., Zhou L., Deng G., Wang P., Creech D., Li S., Anthocyanins, Phenolics, and Antioxidant Capacity of Vaccinium L. in  Texas, USA, Pharmaceutical Crops, 2: 11–23 (2011).

[44] Rocha, “Avaliação da cor e da Actividade Antioxidante da Polpa e Extracto de Mirtilo (Vaccinium myrtillus) em Pó”. Dissertação para obtenção de grau Mestre. Universidade Minas Gerais, Brasil (2009).

[45] Wang S.Y., Chen H., Camp M.J., Ehlenfeldt M.K., Flavonoid Constituents and Their Contribution to Antioxidant Activity in Cultivars and Hybrids of Rabbiteye Blueberry (Vaccinium ashei Reade), Food Chemistry, 132(2): 855–864 (2012).

[46] Gavrilova V., Kajdzanoska M., Gjamovski V., Stefova M., Separation, Characterization and Quantification of Phenolic Compounds in Blueberries and Red and Black Currants by HPLC-DAD-ESI-MSn, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 59(8) 4009–4018 (2011).

[48] Thaipong K., Boonprakob U., Crosby K., Cisneros-Zevallos L., Hawkins Byrne, D.: Comparison of ABTS, DPPH, FRAP, and ORAC Assays for Estimating Antioxidant Activity from Guava Fruit Extracts, Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 19(6-7): 669–675 (2006).

[49] Rodrigues E., Poerner N., Rockenbach, Gonzaga L.V., Mendes C.R., Fett R., Phenolic Compounds and Antioxidant Activity of Blueberry Cultivars Grown in Brazil, Food Science and Technology (Campinas), 31(4): 911–917 (2011).

[50] Jablonska-Rys E., Zalewska-Korona M., Kalbarczyk: Antioxidant Capacity Ascorbic Acid and Phenolics Content in wild Edible Fruits, Journal of Fruit and Ornamental Plant Research, 17(2): 115–120 (2009).

[51] Buran T.J., Sandhu A.K., Azeredo A.M., Bent A.H., Williamson J.G., Gu L., TEMPEffects of Exogenous Abscisic Acid on Fruit Quality, Antioxidant Capacities, and Phytochemical Contents of Southern High Bush Blueberries, Food Chemistry, 132(1): 1375–1381 (2012).

[52] Zhou Q., Ma C., Cheng S., Wei B., Liu X., Ji S., Changes in Antioxidative Metabolism Accompanying Pitting Development in Stored Blueberry Fruit, Postharvest Biology and Technology, 88: 88–95 (2014).

[53] Reque P.M., Steffens R.S., Jablonski A., Flôres S.H., Rios A. de O., de Jong E.V., Cold Storage of Blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) Fruits and Juice: Anthocyanin Stability and Antioxidant Activity, Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 33(1): 111–116 (2014).

[54] Srivastava A., Akoh C.C., Yi W., Fischer J., Krewer G., Effect of Storage Conditions on the thelogical Activity of Phenolic Compounds of Blueberry Extract Packed in Glass Bottles, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 55(7): 2705–2713 (2007).