Pear (Pyrus communis
L.) is widely spread throughout the temperate regions of the world, such as China, America and Australia. This fruit is popular among consumers due to its excellent taste and perceived health benefits. Various bioactive compounds, which contribute to these health benefits, have been detected in the pear fruits, including a range of phenolic compounds. Five Australian grown pear varieties, which include Packham’s Triumph, Josephine de Malines, Beurre Bosc, Winter Nelis and Rico were selected for this study to examine the phenolic compounds in pears. Beurre Bosc exhibited the highest total polyphenol content (TPC) (3.14 ± 0.02 mg GAE/g), total tannin content (TTC) (1.43 ± 0.04 mg CE/g) and 2,2′-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) (5.72 ± 0.11 mg AAE/g), while the Josephine de Malines variety was high in total flavonoid content (TFC) (1.53 ± 0.09 mg QE/g), ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) (4.37 ± 0.04 mg AAE/g), 2,2′-azinobis-(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) (4.44 ± 0.01 mg AAE/g) and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) (5.29 ± 0.09 mg AAE/g). The liquid chromatography coupled with electrospray-ionization quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-QTOF-MS/MS) data indicate that a total of 73 phenolic compounds were detected in Beurre Bosc (37 compounds), Josephine de Malines (34), Rico (22), Packham’s Triumph (15) and Winter Nelis (9), respectively. From HPLC-PDA quantification, the Beurre Bosc pear variety showed significantly higher in phenolic acids (chlorogenic acid; 17.58 ± 0.88 mg/g) and while flavonoids were significantly higher in Josephine de Malines (catechin; 17.45 ± 1.39 mg/g), as compared to other pear varieties. The analyses suggest that the Australian grown pears might contain an ideal source of phenolic compounds which benefit human health. The information provided by the present work can serve as practical supporting data for the use of pears in the nutraceutical, pharmaceutical and food industries.
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