Nutritional composition of bilberries (<i>Vaccinium myrtillus</i> L.) from forest fields in Norway – Effects of geographic origin, climate, fertilization and soil properties

  • Jens Rohloff Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) http://orcid.org/0000-0003-4345-7943
  • Eivind Uleberg Bioforsk, Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, NO-1432 Ås, Norway
  • Arnfinn Nes Bioforsk, Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, NO-1432 Ås, Norway
  • Tore Krogstad Department of Environmental Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, Norway
  • Rolf Nestby Bioforsk, Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, NO-1432 Ås, Norway
  • Inger Martinussen Bioforsk, Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, NO-1432 Ås, Norway
Keywords: anthocyanins, antioxidants, phenolics, population effects, seasonal variation, soil parameters

Abstract

Effects of different environmental factors (origin, climate, fertilization and soil properties) on berry nutritional quality were studied in eight forest fields of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) in Northern-, Mid- and Southern Norway. No clear trend between locations could be found, however untargeted multivariate analysis of metabolite profiles revealed clear segregation patterns between locations. Anthocyanin, and phenolics content, and titratable acidity were significantly affected by mineral fertilization (Mid-Norway), while organic fertilization did not show any significant effects (Northern Norway). Bilberry chemical composition was affected by harvest time point, as indicated by a potentially higher nutritional quality regarding the content of phytochemicals when harvesting at mid or towards the end of the production season (Southern Norway). Regional and annual climate had strongest impact on the nutritious content of bilberries. Significant differences were found between locations, however previous findings on increasing anthocyanin content with latitude were not confirmed due to environmental impacts confounding the population effects.

Author Biographies

Jens Rohloff, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Department of Biology, Molecular and Systems Biology Group

Researcher (PhD, Adj.Ass.Prof.)

Eivind Uleberg, Bioforsk, Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, NO-1432 Ås, Norway

Bioforsk Arctic Agriculture - Holt

Researcher (PhD)

Arnfinn Nes, Bioforsk, Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, NO-1432 Ås, Norway

Bioforsk Arable crops - Apelsvoll

Senior Researcher (PhD)

Tore Krogstad, Department of Environmental Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, Norway

Department of Environmental Sciences - Soil

Professor

Rolf Nestby, Bioforsk, Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, NO-1432 Ås, Norway

Bioforsk Grassland and Landscape - Kvithamar

Senior Researcher (PhD)

Inger Martinussen, Bioforsk, Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, NO-1432 Ås, Norway

Bioforsk Arctic Agriculture - Holt

Researcher (PhD)

Published
2015-11-16