U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

January 1989


J. Agric. Food Chem., Vol. 37, No. 4, 1989. This article not subject to US. Copyright. Published 1989 by the American Chemical Society. Permission to use.


The blackbird feeding preference for sunflower oilseed variety Jacques Discovery (JD) over purple-hulled Neagra de Cluj (NdC) has been attributed to anthocyanin. To test this hypothesis, we compared biochemical and morphological properties in the achene over the maturation period. Comparisons included total phenols, anthocyanin, tannin, fat/oil, protein, nonstructural sugars, and phytomelanin contents, as well as mass properties and moisture content. Only three differences were observed: (1) Hull mass was significantly higher for NdC than JD. (2) Anthocyanins were synthesized by NdC only. (3) JD was higher in oil content. Each of these factors may play a role in reduced preferences exhibited by birds for NdC.