Plant Profiler

Strawberry (Fragaria vesca)

Fragaria vesca
Synonyms / Common Names / Related Terms
Allstar, Annapolis, Earliglow, Evangeline, Fragaria chiloensis ssp. Chiloensis, Fragaria x ananassa Duch., Fragaria x ananassa Duchesne, garden strawberry, Jewel, KYSt-4 (Nohime), KYSt-11 (Kurume IH-1), KYSt-17 (Kurume 58), Mesabi, Rosaceae (family), Sable, Sparkle, woodland strawberry.

Mechanism of Action


  • Constituents: 1-O-E-Cinnamoyl-beta-D-xylopyranoside, 1-O-E-cinnamoyl-beta-D-rhamnopyranoside, 1-O-E-cinnamoyl-alpha-xylofuranosyl-(1-->6)-beta-D-glucopyranose, tryptophan, and cyanidin-3-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside have been isolated from ripe fruits of the Chilean strawberry Fragaria chiloensis ssp. Chiloensis.18 The antioxidant effects from strawberries may be due to ellagic acid, and certain flavonoids: anthocyanin, catechin, quercetin, and kaempferol.1,18
  • In a laboratory study, frozen garden strawberries had a nitrate concentration of 57.38mg KNO3/kg and the concentrations in cherry, strawberry, black and red currant jams ranged from 6.30 to 97.38mg KNO3/kg.22
  • Antiaging properties: In experiments using dietary supplementation, strawberry extracts were effective in forestalling and reversing the deleterious effects of behavioral aging in F344 rats.3
  • Antiangiogenesis activity: In in vitro study, strawberry significantly inhibited both H2O2 as well as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha-induced vascular endothelial growth factor expression by the human keratinocytes.14
  • Antibacterial activity: In in vitro study, strawberry showed clear antimicrobial effects against Salmonella and Staphylococcus.5 This activity may be due to strawberry's somplex phenolic polymers, such as ellagitannins, that are strong antibacterial agents, and also to the antiadherence activity of the berries. In laboratory study, fresh strawberries and strawberry juice inhibited the growth of Enterobacter sakazakii.4
  • Anticancer activity: Individual compounds in strawberries have demonstrated anticancer activity in several different studies, blocking initiation of carcinogenesis, dose-dependently inducing apoptosis, and suppressing progression and proliferation of tumors.1,8,9,10,11 This activity may be due to the strawberry extracts' antioxidant properties and their ability to reduce oxidative stress.10
  • Anti-inflammatory properties: In an in vitro study, strawberry extracts inhibited COX enzymes.1
  • Antileukemia activity: In an in vitro study, strawberry extracts exhibited high cytotoxic activity against a sensitive leukemia HL60 cell line as well as its multidrug-resistant sublines.15 The values of resistance factor found for these extracts were very low lying in the range 0.32/2.0.
  • Antioxidant activity: Plants in the Rosaceae family (dog rose, sour cherry, blackberry, strawberry, raspberry) are thought to have strong antioxidants properties.16 This is supported by work in humans, animals, and in the laboratory. A retrospective survey of elderly Japanese found that frequent intake of orange or other citrus fruits, or persimmon, strawberry, or kiwi fruit was associated with lower plasma 8-iso-PGF(2alpha) concentrations, possibly due to their vitamin C content17, although another researcher states that strawberry's free radical scavenging effect is associated with the anthocyanin content18. A third researcher found that strawberries have high activities of glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, guaiacol peroxidase, ascorbate peroxidase, and glutathione reductase.10 In a pig model, strawberries decreased oxidative stress by decreasing malondialdehyde formation in the body and by protecting mononuclear blood cells against increased DNA damage.19 One of the reasons behind the different theories of antioxidant activity may be due to the different varieties of strawberry. An in vitro study found that free phenolic content of strawberry cultivars differed by 65% and flavonoid and anthocyanin content could differ by 100%.13 However, this researcher found that free phenolic content was weakly correlated with total antioxidant activity, and flavonoid and anthocyanin content did not correlate with total antioxidant activity.
  • Antiplatelet properties: In an in vitro study, strawberry had relatively high antiplatelet activity.6 This finding is supported by a later study that found strawberry varieties KYSt-4 (Nohime), KYSt-11 (Kurume IH-1), and KYSt-17 (Kurume 58) showed significant antiplatelet activity both in vitro and, after oral administration to mice, in vivo.7
  • Antiproliferative activity: In in vitro studies, strawberry extract has shown dose-dependent antiproliferative activity, which can vary from cultivar to cultivar.12,13 Interestingly, one study found that extracts from organically grown strawberries had a higher antiproliferative activity.12
  • Gastrointestinal effects: In in vitro studies, strawberry extract exerted an inhibitory effect on intestinal P-glycoprotein-related functionality and interfered with the absorptive transport across Caco-2 monolayers.20,21
  • Insecticide photodegradation effects: In laboratory study, the cuticle and epicuticular wax of strawberry increased the photodegredation half-life of the insecticide chlorpyrifos-methyl, but did not prevent the insecticide from penetrating into the fruit.23
  • Iron absorption effects: In a study of parous women, strawberry (Fragaria spp.) and other fruits had a mild to moderate enhancing effect on iron absorption.2
  • Nitrosation inhibition: In an in vitro study, strawberry inhibited nitrosation.24 To test its effects in humans, healthy male and female volunteers were administered nitrate (400mg daily day) in combination with an amine-rich diet and whole strawberries (300g). After the administration of strawberries, NDMA excretion was decreased by 70%, compared with NDMA excretion after ingestion of an amine-rich diet with a nitrate.


  • Six healthy volunteers (three women and three men) consumed a meal containing 200g strawberries (providing 179microM pelargonidin-3-glucoside).25 Urine samples were collected before and after the meal and rapidly treated by solid-phase extraction. Identification and quantification of anthocyanin metabolites were carried out by HPLC-ESI-MS-MS and HPLC with UV-visible detection, respectively. In addition to pelargonidin-3-glucoside, five anthocyanin metabolites were identified in urine: three monoglucuronides of pelargonidin, one sulfoconjugate of pelargonidin and pelargonidin itself. Total urinary excretion of strawberry anthocyanin metabolites corresponded to 1.80 ± 0.29% (mean ± SEM, N=6) of pelargonidin-3-glucoside ingested. More than 80% of this excretion was related to a monoglucuronide. Four hours after the meal, more than two-thirds of anthocyanin metabolites had been excreted, although urinary excretion of the metabolites continued until the end of the 24-hour experiment. This study demonstrated that anthocyanins were glucuro- and sulfo-conjugated in humans and that the main metabolite of strawberry anthocyanins in human urine was a monoglucuronide of pelargonidin.
  • After a 72-hour period of a phytoestrogen-free regimen, five healthy women and two men consumed a single strawberry-meal containing known amounts of plant lignans.26 Basal and post-meal blood and urine samples were collected at short intervals. The samples were analyzed using time-resolved fluoroimmunoassay of enterolactone. The strawberry meal increased plasma concentration of enterolactone after eight to 24 hours and in urine in the 13 to 24-hour and 25 to 36-hour urine collections. High individual variability of the metabolic response was observed. Enterolactone excreted in the urine collected throughout the 48-hour post-meal yielded on average 114% of the plant lignans consumed.

  1. Hannum, S. M. Potential impact of strawberries on human health: a review of the science. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2004;44(1):1-17. 15077879
  2. Ballot, D., Baynes, R. D., Bothwell, T. H., Gillooly, M., MacFarlane, B. J., MacPhail, A. P., Lyons, G., Derman, D. P., Bezwoda, W. R., Torrance, J. D., and . The effects of fruit juices and fruits on the absorption of iron from a rice meal. Br J Nutr 1987;57(3):331-343. 3593665
  3. Joseph, J. A., Denisova, N. A., Bielinski, D., Fisher, D. R., and Shukitt-Hale, B. Oxidative stress protection and vulnerability in aging: putative nutritional implications for intervention. Mech Ageing Dev 7-31-2000;116(2-3):141-153. 10996014
  4. Kim, H. and Beuchat, L. R. Survival and growth of Enterobacter sakazakii on fresh-cut fruits and vegetables and in unpasteurized juices as affected by storage temperature. J Food Prot  2005;68(12):2541-2552. 16355824
  5. Puupponen-Pimia, R., Nohynek, L., Alakomi, H. L., and Oksman-Caldentey, K. M. The action of berry phenolics against human intestinal pathogens. Biofactors 2005;23(4):243-251. 16498212
  6. Dutta-Roy, A. K., Crosbie, L., and Gordon, M. J. Effects of tomato extract on human platelet aggregation in vitro. Platelets  2001;12(4):218-227. 11454256
  7. Naemura, A., Mitani, T., Ijiri, Y., Tamura, Y., Yamashita, T., Okimura, M., and Yamamoto, J. Anti-thrombotic effect of strawberries. Blood Coagul Fibrinolysis 2005;16(7):501-509. 16175010
  8. Chen, M. S., Chen, D., and Dou, Q. P. Inhibition of proteasome activity by various fruits and vegetables is associated with cancer cell death. In Vivo 2004;18(1):73-80. ViewAbstract
  9. Choi, S. Y., Chung, M. J., and Sung, N. J. Volatile N-nitrosamine 15011755 after intake Korean green tea and Maesil (Prunus mume SIEB. et ZACC.) extracts with an amine-rich diet in subjects ingesting nitrate. Food Chem Toxicol 2002;40(7):949-957. 12065217
  10. Wang, S. Y., Feng, R., Lu, Y., Bowman, L., and Ding, M. Inhibitory effect on activator protein-1, nuclear factor-kappaB, and cell transformation by extracts of strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa Duch.). J Agric Food Chem 5-18-2005;53(10):4187-4193. 15884858
  11. Ramos, S., Alia, M., Bravo, L., and Goya, L. Comparative effects of food-derived polyphenols on the viability and apoptosis of a human hepatoma cell line (HepG2). J Agric Food Chem 2-23-2005;53(4):1271-1280. 15713052
  12. Olsson, M. E., Andersson, C. S., Oredsson, S., Berglund, R. H., and Gustavsson, K. E. Antioxidant levels and inhibition of cancer cell proliferation in vitro by extracts from organically and conventionally cultivated strawberries. J Agric Food Chem 2-22-2006;54(4):1248-1255. 16478244
  13. Meyers, K. J., Watkins, C. B., Pritts, M. P., and Liu, R. H. Antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of strawberries. J Agric Food Chem  11-5-2003;51(23):6887-6892. 14582991
  14. Roy, S., Khanna, S., Alessio, H. M., Vider, J., Bagchi, D., Bagchi, M., and Sen, C. K. Anti-angiogenic property of edible berries. Free Radic Res 2002;36(9):1023-1031. 12448828
  15. Skupien, K., Oszmianski, J., Kostrzewa-Nowak, D., and Tarasiuk, J. In vitro antileukaemic activity of extracts from berry plant leaves against sensitive and multidrug resistant HL60 cells. Cancer Lett 5-18-2006;236(2):282-291. 16039042
  16. Halvorsen, B. L., Holte, K., Myhrstad, M. C., Barikmo, I., Hvattum, E., Remberg, S. F., Wold, A. B., Haffner, K., Baugerod, H., Andersen, L. F., Moskaug, O., Jacobs, D. R., Jr., and Blomhoff, R. A systematic screening of total antioxidants in dietary plants. J Nutr 2002;132(3):461-471. 11880572
  17. Kuriyama, S., Ebihara, S., Hozawa, A., Ohmori, K., Kurashima, K., Nakaya, N., Matsui, T., Arai, H., Tsubono, Y., Sasaki, H., and Tsuji, I. Dietary intakes and plasma 8-iso-prostaglandin F2alpha concentrations in community-dwelling elderly Japanese: the Tsurugaya project. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 2006;76(2):87-94. 16941420
  18. Cheel, J., Theoduloz, C., Rodriguez, J., Saud, G., Caligari, P. D., and Schmeda-Hirschmann, G. E-cinnamic acid derivatives and phenolics from Chilean strawberry fruits, Fragaria chiloensis ssp. chiloensis. J Agric Food Chem 11-2-2005;53(22):8512-8518. 16248546
  19. Pajk, T., Rezar, V., Levart, A., and Salobir, J. Efficiency of apples, strawberries, and tomatoes for reduction of oxidative stress in pigs as a model for humans. Nutrition 2006;22(4):376-384. 16413749
  20. Deferme, S., Van Gelder, J., and Augustijns, P. Inhibitory effect of fruit extracts on P-glycoprotein-related efflux carriers: an in-vitro screening. J Pharm Pharmacol 2002;54(9):1213-1219. 12356275
  21. Van Gelder, J., Deferme, S., Naesens, L., De Clercq, E., van den, Mooter G., Kinget, R., and Augustijns, P. Intestinal absorption enhancement of the ester prodrug tenofovir disoproxil fumarate through modulation of the biochemical barrier by defined ester mixtures. Drug Metab Dispos  2002;30(8):924-930. 12124311
  22. Gajewska, R., Nabrzyski, M., and Szajek, L. [Occurrence of nitrates and nitrites in certain frozen fruits, jams, stewed fruit and fruit-vegetable juices for children and in certain types of bee honey]. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig  1989;40(4-6):266-273. 2637478
  23. Riccio, R., Trevisan, M., and Capri, E. Effect of surface waxes on the persistence of chlorpyrifos-methyl in apples, strawberries and grapefruits. Food Addit Contam 2006;23(7):683-692. 16751145
  24. Chung, M. J., Lee, S. H., and Sung, N. J. Inhibitory effect of whole strawberries, garlic juice or kale juice on endogenous formation of N-nitrosodimethylamine in humans. Cancer Lett  8-8-2002;182(1):1-10. 12175517
  25. Felgines, C., Talavera, S., Gonthier, M. P., Texier, O., Scalbert, A., Lamaison, J. L., and Remesy, C. Strawberry anthocyanins are recovered in urine as glucuro- and sulfoconjugates in humans. J Nutr 2003;133(5):1296-1301. 12730413
  26. Mazur, W. M., Uehara, M., Wahala, K., and Adlercreutz, H. Phyto-oestrogen content of berries, and plasma concentrations and urinary excretion of enterolactone after a single strawberry-meal in human subjects. Br J Nutr 2000;83(4):381-387. 10858696

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