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Bioactive compounds in fruits: health benefits and effect of storage conditions

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Purpose of review: This article reviews the major bioactive compounds present in apples, berries and tropical fruits, which are of economic importance in the international market, and discusses some of their potential beneficial health effects, as well as their degradation during postharvest manipulation and storage.

Recent findings: The most recent studies have focused on the importance of bioactive compounds in reducing deteriorative processes and their influence in preventing or reducing the incidence of degenerative diseases. The discovery of new compounds with specific roles in human metabolism has encouraged food technologists to develop new processes and soft technologies for preserving the beneficial characteristics of these compounds. Nutritionists are also concerned about the increase of degenerative diseases due to the low consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Directions for future research: Efforts should be made to develop methods for identifying new bioactive compounds and preserving them after minimal processing and storage of fruits and vegetables. Studies are also needed to elucidate the possible mode of action of bioactive compounds and prevent deteriorative reactions, as well as identify their specific contribution to the total antioxidant capacity. Furthermore, the behaviour of these compounds when they are present in different matrixes and their synergist effects when they are combined should be investigated. Finally, combining the efforts of food technologists, nutritionists and physicians will lead to the development of programs to raise awareness of the great health advantages that fruit consumption offers.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2008

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  • Stewart Postharvest Review is published bi-monthly and covers a wide range of topics in various areas of postharvest biology and technology.

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