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J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Apr 14;58(7):3884-900. doi: 10.1021/jf902693r.

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

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Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.


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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