Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date



Type 2 diabetes is a growing public health concern. Drugs, such as acarbose, are used to slow the rise in blood glucose levels after meals by inhibiting the enzyme, alphaglucosidase, which is responsible for digesting complex carbohydrates. The objective of this study is to compare the alpha-glucosidase inhibitory activity of extracts from Maine blueberries and blackberries to acarbose because these plants are very anthocyanin-rich. Varietal differences in highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) and agricultural practices for growing wild or lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium Ait.) are also experimental variables. The twelve berry samples were obtained from farms around the state of Maine in August of 2013. Results were obtained through four assays, including alpha-glucosidase inhibition, total free phenolic content, total anthocyanin content, and 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging activity (RSA). Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), Tukey’s Honestly Significant Difference (HSD) test, and Pearson Correlations were used to compare means. The alpha-glucosidase inhibition assay showed that blueberries and blackberries can inhibit at least 50% of alphaglucosidase activity under these experimental conditions and within sixty minutes. None of the four assays yielded data that strongly correlated with one another, and the mean organic wild versus high-input wild data did not show any significant differences except for radical scavenging activity where the high-input wild mean was significantly higher.

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