Total phenol, antioxidant and free radical scavenging activities of some medicinal plants

Dhan Prakash, Samiksha Suri, Garima Upadhyay, Brahma N Singh
International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 2007, 58 (1): 18-28
Phenols, a major group of antioxidant phytochemicals, have profound importance due to their biological and free radical scavenging activities. To identify their potential sources, extracts of some plants were studied for their total phenolic content (TPC), antioxidant (AOA) and free radical scavenging activities (FRSA) by different methods at multiple concentrations followed by specific phenolic composition. The amount of TPC varied from 2.8 mg/g (Withania somnifera, roots) to 107.8 mg/g (Cassia fistula, fruits) and the AOA from 24.2% (Curcuma zeoderia, leaves) to 96.9% (Trewia nudiflora, leaves). Bark of Azadirachta indica, fruits of C. fistula, and leaves and fruits of T. nudiflora were found to have high TPC (89.8- 107.8 mg/g) and high AOA (84.8-96.9%). Promising plant parts were studied for their FRSA and reducing power (RP), where the bark of A. indica, Casuarina equisetifolia and Cinnamomum zeylanicum, flowers of Indigofera tinctoria, fruits of Lawsonia inermis, and fruits and leaves of T. nudiflora showed a very low inhibitory concentration value ranging from 0.14 to 0.26 mg/ml, efficiency concentration value from 6.1 to 11.6 mg/mg DPPH and reducing power value from 0.6 to 2.8 ascorbic acid equivalents (ASE/ml), and reasonably high values (8.5 -16.2) of anti-radical power (ARP), indicating their strong FRSA. They also showed better inhibition of hydroxyl radical induced deoxyribose degradation than that of reference standard. Fruits of C. fistula with high phenols (107.8 mg/g) showed poor reducing power (5.9 ASE/ml) and ARP (4.7); in contrast, the bark of C. equisetifolia and fruits of L. inermis were with comparatively lower phenols (72.1 and 75.8 mg/g) but exhibited good ARP (16.2 and 14.4) and reducing power (0.7 and 0.6 ASE/ ml, respectively). Some of the plants were also found effective in protecting plasmid DNA nicking induced by hydroxyl radicals generated by Fenton's reaction. They were further assayed for their specific phenolic composition through high-performance liquid chromatography and MS/MS, where the amount of caffeic acid varied from 0.312 to 0.797 mg/g, chlorogenic acid from 0.018 to 2.109 mg/g, ellagic acid from 0.009 to 0.902 mg/g, ferulic acid from 0.036 to 0.078 mg/g, gallic acid from 0.192 to 3.597 mg/g, kaempferol from 0.011 to 0.910 mg/g, quercetin from 0.047 to 1.106 mg/g and rutin from 0.059 to 2.029 mg/g.

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