Muscadine (Vitis rotundifolia) grape juice was assessed for color and phytochemical stability as influenced by anthocyanin copigmentation with a water-soluble rosemary extract, fortification with ascorbic acid, and processing by heat or high hydrostatic pressure (HHP). The roles of polyphenolic cofactors in the presence and in the absence of ascorbic acid were assessed as a means to improve the overall processing stability of the juice. Addition of rosemary extract from 0 to 0.4% (v/v) readily formed copigment complexes with anthocyanins and resulted in concentration-dependent hyperchromic shifts from 10 to 27% that corresponded to increased antioxidant activity. The presence of ascorbic acid was generally detrimental to juice quality, especially in the presence of rosemary extract, and resulted in overall anthocyanin, ascorbic acid, and antioxidant activity losses. Although thermal and high-pressure processing methods were detrimental to juice quality, HHP resulted in greater losses after processing, likely due to action from residual oxidase enzymes. Although physicochemical attributes were enhanced by copigmentation with rosemary extract, methods to inactivate residual enzymes should be addressed prior to copigmentation to prevent degradation of anthocyanins in the presence of ascorbic acid.
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