The date fruit is economically important agricultural commodity, as well as a staple food in many countries in the Arab world, North Africa, and the Middle East. Recent interest in its nutritional, health, and therapeutic attributes is manifested by the rise in scientific publications. Dates of various cultivars are widely publicized and highly ranked as rich sources of natural antioxidant constituents and antioxidant activity. Such publicity, justified or otherwise, is sometimes accompanied by misconceptions and claims of cultivar- and/or country-wise superiority. This chapter examines these claims using a dataset generated from scientific studies published over the last three decades focusing on the total phenolic (TP) content of three stages of date maturity, with emphasis on the last stage, Tamer. The dataset contains TP values (mg GAE/100 g DM) from 18 countries and 243 cultivars and included 583 entries. It only examines variability of TP values. Statistical analysis indicates a great variability of TP content, both within a particular cultivar and among different cultivars. Claims of cultivar- and country-wise superiority and very high ranking of date antioxidant activity are not substantiated. The chapter also discusses various causes of high variability and calls for a collaboration work to address the issue.
Part of the book: Antioxidants