research develoment science

Research has unearthed the benefits of prairie fruit

Canadian researchers have discovered new nutritional potential in prairie fruits, in particular, buffaloberry, chokecherry and sea buckthorn.

The University of Saskatchewan study, published in the Canadian Journal of Plant Science, showed that these fruits are nutrient-rich with potential high food value - good news for fruit growers in Saskatchewan, as the results add further credence to support the development of these fruits for commercial food markets.

'There is increasing interest in the commercial development of these fruits since historically it has been thought they may provide nutritional and health benefits,' said Dr. Rick Green, vice president of technology at POS Bio-Sciences in Saskatoon, and co-author of the study.

'Our results provide evidence that these fruits do, in fact, possess such nutritional benefits and contain compounds of interest for their health and wellness attributes. Thus, our work supports the commercial development of buffaloberry, chokecherry and sea buckthorn berries.'

Buffaloberry was four times as high in ascorbic acid than oranges.Chokecherry contained high levels of anthocyanin pigments (anti-oxidants), and can be considered a good source of these compounds with a higher concentration than fruits such as cranberry. Anthocyanin's purported health benefits include anti-inflammatory properties, cardio-vascular benefits and potential anticarcinogenic properties.

Sea buckthorn contained high levels of lipids for a fruit, though the level varies with location and variety. All of the fruits contained high levels of fibre.

'Funding for a major project to investigate and further develop these nutritive-rich ingredients is being sought from the recently established Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS),' added study co-author Dr. Nicholas Low, a professor of food chemistry at the Department of Food and Bioproduct Sciences, University of Saskatchewan.