Introduction: Blueberries are known for their very high content of biologically active phenolic compounds; nonetheless, differently from the North American and European species of blueberries, Neotropical blueberries have not been extensively studied yet. Objectives: In the present paper, the phenolic composition of Vaccinium floribundum Kunth, which is endemic to the Andean regions and grows 1,600 to 4,500 meters above sea level, was investigated by ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry (UHPLC-HRMS). Native and fermented berries were compared in terms of phenolic composition as well as antioxidant activity, total phenolic content, and total anthocyanin content. Materials and Methods: V. floribundum native and fermented berries were extracted and analyzed by UHPLC-HRMS. The acquired datasets were processed by Compound Discoverer 3.1 using a dedicated data analysis workflow that was specifically set up for phenolic compound identification. Results: In total, 309 compounds were tentatively identified, including anthocyanins, flavonoids, phenolic acids, and proanthocyanidins. The molecular transformations of phenolic compounds during fermentation were comprehensively investigated for the first time, and by a customized data processing workflow, 13 quinones and quinone methides were tentatively identified in the fermented samples. Compared to other species of the genus Vaccinium, a peculiar phenolic profile is observed, with low abundance of highly methylated compounds. Conclusion: Andean berries are a rich source of a wide variety of phenolic compounds. Untargeted MS analyses coupled to a dedicated data processing workflow allowed expanding the current knowledge on these berries, improving our understanding of the fate of phenolic compounds after fermentation.
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© 2022 The Authors. Phytochemical Analysis published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.