The objective of this study was to evaluate the content of anthocyanin and total phenols, in some wild bilberry populations, grown in natural conditions in northern Albania. This study aimed at identifying the wild bilberry populations, whose fruits are rich in anthocyanin and as such, can be selected and cultivated for production in the future. Thirteen bilberry fruit (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) samples were collected from wild bilberry populations in Puka and Tropoja region. Collected fruit samples were evaluated for chemical traits (myrtellin, kuromanin, oenin, total anthocyans, and total phenolic compounds) using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analyses. This study confirmed significant chemical differences between two regions (Puka-Tropoja) as well as within one region. The bilberry fruit analyses showed that the total anthocyans (calculated as cyanidin-3-glucozide) concentration ranges from a minimum of 2473 mg/kg FW (Shale e madhe Iballe/Puke) to a maximum 7774 mg/kg FW (Maja e zeze Doberdol/Tropoje). In addition, it was confirmed that the total phenolic compounds (min 4558 to max 8980 mg/kg FW) was significantly higher for bilberry fruits samples collected in Tropoja compared to the ones collected in Puka region. Statistical analyses showed that elevation gradient has a great effect on chemical composition of bilberry fruit samples. It also showed that among analysed anthocyanidins, myrtellin have the highest concentration (43%).
Key words: Chemical variability, wild bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) populations, northern part of Albania.
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