Ocean Spray-Brightseed collaboration identifies novel cranberry bioactives for health

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© gitusik / Getty Images
© gitusik / Getty Images

Related tags Cranberry phytonutrients

A partnership between AI-phytonutrient pioneers Brightseed and cranberry giant Ocean Spray has identified novel compounds in cranberries that will undergo deeper clinical validation.

Using Brightseed’s Forager AI platform, researchers at both companies identified multiple bioactives that have yet to be extensively studied in cranberries and hold enormous human health potential, including terpenes.

The research was presented during a posted session at the recent Nutrition 2024 event hosted by the American Society of Nutrition, and marks the first results of the partnership that was first announced in 2021​.

“Our work with Brightseed’s Forager AI platform has dramatically enhanced our ability to identify and verify the various bioactive compounds found within specific cranberry varieties that can impact new areas of health, such as cognition and immunity,” said Katy Galle, Senior Vice President of Research & Development and Sustainability at Ocean Spray.


Created by Lee Chae, PhD, Brightseed’s co-founder and CTO, the Forager platform systematically identifies natural bioactives and maps their connection to human health benefits. To date, Forager has mapped more than seven million compounds from plants, fungi and bacterial strains across 23 human health areas.

Brightseed has established other notable partnerships with the likes of ADM​, Danone​, Pharmavite​, and ofi (olam food ingredients)​.

Responding to questions from NutraIngredients-USA, Christina Khoo, PhD, Director of Emerging Science - Nutrition & Regulatory Affairs, Ocean Spray, said: “For this study, Brightseed and Ocean Spray tested six cranberry samples of different varieties from the growing regions of Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Wisconsin, including varieties called Crimson Queen, Stevens, and Early Black. In addition to polyphenols, all cranberry samples were predicted to include the compound classes terpenes, phytosterols, and aromatic acids, with terpenes predicted to be in the highest abundance.

“Forager analyzed these samples and predicted that each variety of cranberries is packed with phytonutrients containing human health benefits, including many that were not previously noted in public literature but are likely associated with the cranberry health benefits.”

Dr. Khoo added that while the individual bioactives are targeted for identification and further study, Brightseed and Ocean Spray are ultimately seeking to understand how they act both individually and together to contribute to the overall benefits of the cranberry.

Forager has predicted bioactive compounds in cranberries associated with antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial functions, she added, with the highest number of unique bioactive compounds being associated with an antiviral benefit.

“Forager also found 10 times more bioactive phytochemicals and 4 times more phytonutrients across a sample of Ocean Spray's cranberry varieties, and multiple cranberry varieties were abundant in over 350 bioactive compound classes with the possibility to positively impact many different health areas including immunity and cognition. Ocean Spray and Brightseed plan to collaborate on further in vitro​ research to support these in silico​ findings,” said Dr. Khoo.

Phase 2

The companies will now embark on the second phase of its collaboration, she said, and are moving forward with the pre-clinical initiatives.

“The results would validate our initial findings and provide additional information to help Ocean Spray design a strong clinical trial to strengthen the support for the health benefit of cranberry in these new areas.”

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