(June 3, 10:28 a.m.) Black Diamond plums, a proprietary variety of Sun World International LLC, Bakersfield, Calif., have emerged as a global leader in the antioxidant rankings, according to a recently released study by the Produce for Better Health Foundation, Wilmington, Del.

The findings are timely in that black diamond plums are scheduled to begin arriving at retailers the first week in June, said Juanita Gaglio, Sun World’s director of marketing.

The foundation, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, launched a yearlong study of fruits, vegetables and nuts in 2000. The focus of the nationwide study, according to the foundation, was to develop a comprehensive phytonutrient database.

The study found the black diamond plums ranked second only to cranberries in their oxygen radical absorbance capacity value, or antioxidants, per 100 grams. The plums contain 15% more antioxidant value than blueberries and, except for other plum varieties, more than double the value of all other tree fruit.

The health benefits of the black diamond plums are by design, Gaglio said. Sun World has been an industry leader is breeding proprietary varieties. The company’s breeding efforts have begun to focus more and more on nutrition and health, she said.

“If there is a fruit that is very delicious and much sought-after, and it can be bred with even higher value health content, that makes it even better,” Gaglio said.

That’s the case with the black diamond plums, because the variety has 30% more sugar content than other black plum varieties, she said.

Sun World is making available to retailers point-of-sale materials that feature the health benefits of the black diamond plums, Gaglio said. The plums will be available through mid-August, she said.

Black Diamond plums rate high in antioxidants
Black Diamond plums, a red flesh plum variety of Bakersfield, Calif.-based Sun World International LLC, have been found to have the second-highest oxygen radical absorbance capacity value (i.e., antioxidants) per 100 grams -- right behind cranberries -- in a study from the Produce for Better Health Foundation, Wilmington, Del.