The following paper was recently published in the Journal of Functional Foods (Jan, 2015)

Phytochemical evaluation of white (Morus alba L.) and black (Morus nigra L.) mulberry fruits, a starting point for the assessment of their beneficial properties

The authors:

Eva M. Sánchez-Salcedo, Pedro Mena, Cristina García-Viguera, Juan José Martínez, Francisca Hernández

White mulberry has distinguished itself in this past decade as an extraordinarily healthy fruit.

The fruits from this plant are rich in fibers, proteins and antioxidants. We also know from clinical data published recently that white mulberry contains compounds which help humans with cholesterol and diabetes issues. Most notably, a compound in the fruit, DNJ, can suppress blood-sugar spikes after meals (post-prandial blood-sugar levels).

A recent study from a Spanish group sought to quantify the different levels of beneficial molecules that are found in two closely related species of mulberry:

Black mulberry (Morus nigra)  and White mulberry (Morus alba)

This plant has a clear economic benefit to any nation that can cultivate the species in large amount. As the world becomes more aware of the health benefits to this ‘superfood’, a commercial demand is bound to grow.

For this reason, there is a desire to know what species of Morus packs the most punch, phenolically.

After a very thorough analysis, the authors conclude that black mulberry has higher antioxidant levels than white mulberry.

Black mulberry clones showed higher antioxidant activity and amounts of phenolic compounds than white mulberry clones, although a wide intra-species variability was noted, according to principal component analysis. The total anthocyanins varied significantly among clones of M. nigra.

This is interesting data for anyone involved in the commercialization of mulberry as a health product. As, most consumers buy mulberry fruits or capsules based on their ability to deliver antioxidants. Most mulberry sold today is white mulberry. So, perhaps this paper will spur some further interest in the commercialization of black mulberry as opposed to the exclusive focus on the white species. Either way, its nice to see such a thorough analysis of the contents of two similar mulberry species.