Journal Articles

Alaskan wild berry resources and human health under the cloud of climate change.

March 13, 2010

Kellogg, Joshua, Jinzhi Wang, Courtney Flint, David Ribnicky, Peter Kuhn, Elvira González De Mejia, Ilya Raskin and Mary Ann Lila. 2010. Alaskan wild berry resources and human health under the cloud of climate change. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 58: 3884-3900.


Wild berries are integral dietary components for Alaska Native people and a rich source of polyphenolic metabolites that can ameliorate metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes. In this study, five species of wild Alaskan berries (Vaccinium ovalifolium , Vaccinium uliginosum , Rubus chamaemorus , Rubus spectabilis , and Empetrum nigrum) were screened for bioactivity through a community-participatory research method involving three geographically distinct tribal communities. Compositional analysis by HPLC and LC-MS(2) revealed substantial site-specific variation in anthocyanins (0.01-4.39 mg/g of FW) and proanthocyanidins (0.74-6.25 mg/g of FW) and identified A-type proanthocyanidin polymers. R. spectabilis increased expression levels of preadipocyte factor 1 (182%), and proanthocyanidin-enriched fractions from other species reduced lipid accumulation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Selected extracts reduced serum glucose levels in C57BL/6J mice by up to 45%. Local observations provided robust insights into effects of climatic fluctuations on berry abundance and quality, and preliminary site-specific compositional and bioactivity differences were noted, suggesting the need to monitor this Alaska Native resource as climate shifts affect the region.

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