Evaluation of free radical scavenging and antityrosinase activities of standardized longan fruit extract

Nuchanart Rangkadilok, Somkid Sitthimonchai, Luksamee Worasuttayangkurn, Chulabhorn Mahidol, Mathuros Ruchirawat, Jutamaad Satayavivad
Food and Chemical Toxicology 2007, 45 (2): 328-36
The protective effects of fruits and vegetables against chronic diseases have been attributed to the antioxidant properties of some secondary metabolites present in these foods. Plant polyphenols have been reported to exhibit bioactive properties, and in particular antioxidant activities. Longan seeds are found to contain high levels of some beneficial polyphenolic compounds such as corilagin, gallic acid and ellagic acid. The present study examined the free radical scavenging activity of longan seed extract by using three different assay methods. Longan extracts contained corilagin ranging from zero to 50.64 mg/g DW, gallic acid from 9.18 to 23.04 mg/g DW, and ellagic acid from 8.13 to 12.65 mg/g DW depending on the cultivars. Dried longan seed extracts of cultivar Edor contained high levels of gallic acid and ellagic acid and also exhibited the highest radical scavenging activities when comparing fresh seed and dried pulp extracts. For scavenging activity of DPPH and superoxide radicals, longan seed extract was found to be as effective as Japanese green tea extract while dried longan pulp and mulberry green tea extracts showed the least scavenging activities. In the ORAC assay, both fresh and dried longan seed also had higher activity than dried pulp and whole fruit. However, the results demonstrate that three polyphenolics may not be the major contributors of the high antioxidant activity of longan water extracts but this high activity may be due to other phenolic/flavonoid glycosides and ellagitannins present in longan fruit. In addition, longan seed also showed tyrosinase inhibitory activity with IC(50) values of 2.9-3.2 mg/ml. Therefore, the preliminary observations suggest that longan seed extract could be another potential source of potent natural dietary antioxidants and also in an application as a new natural skin-whitening agent.

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