Date of Award

Fall 8-21-2015

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Food Science and Human Nutrition


Angela Myracle

Second Committee Member

Jason Bolton

Third Committee Member

Mary Ellen Camire


Promoting healthy diets is among the most cost effective methods to combat the increasing disease burden in the United States. The elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) and black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) are wholesome and underutilized fruits that are known for their anthocyanin content, antioxidant activity, and subsequent potential for helping to curb declining health. Exploring ways to utilize these berries in value-added products may allow for increased consumption, and ultimately, an increase in consumers who are able to benefit from the berries’ healthful compounds. Additionally, finding ways to utilize these berries may create a niche market for the berries and their value-added products. Establishing niche markets for the berries would create potential for farmers to grow and profit from the berries.

This project incorporated the elderberry and aronia berry into value- added frozen treat products, and determined the acceptability of the berries and stability of the bioactive compounds in the frozen treats.

Three frozen treats were formulated for each berry. Aronia treats contained different juices (mango, white grape, and blackberry) to vary the flavor profiles and elderberry treats contained varying concentrations (15%, 30%, and 45% by weight) of elderberry juice. Sensory evaluations were conducted (n=101 for each berry) using questionnaires and a 9-point hedonic scale. Data was analyzed to determine consumer liking of the products. Several laboratory parameters were assessed in the products and their ingredients, including percent soluble solids, titratable acidity, pH, and color. Additionally, total phenolic content, total anthocyanin content, and total free radical scavenging capacity were analyzed in the berry juices and the final products.

Overall acceptability of all products and their attributes was high, where the elderberry product made with 30% elderberry juice was liked significantly more than the other two products, and the aronia berry product made with mango juice was liked significantly more than the aronia berry product made with white grape juice. Quantification of bioactive compounds in the products and their ingredients resulted in amounts that were comparable to expected values. Anthocyanin content of standard sized frozen treats for all six products reflected amounts that would surpass the current estimated average daily intake of anthocyanins in the United States.

Future research could identify other value-added products that could be made with the elderberries and aronia berries, and acceptability studies could be performed on these products. Research could be performed to determine

consumer preference for different varieties of the berries grown under different conditions. The health benefits of elderberries and aronia berries and the bioavailability of their constituents need to be investigated further. Research and initiatives to help farmers start or continue to grow these berries should be continued.