Study of phenolic compounds as natural antioxidants by a fluorescence method

M López, F Martínez, C Del Valle, M Ferrit, R Luque
Talanta 2003 June 13, 60 (2-3): 609-16
Much work has been carried out in recent years on the beneficial effect of phenolic compounds as natural antioxidants which help to neutralize free radicals. In fact, researchers have focused their attention on the pathological role of free radicals in a variety of diseases, among which the most important are atherosclerosis and cancer. Thus, among the components of the so-called 'Mediterranean Diet', phenolic compounds have received increased attention as epidemiological studies have shown that consumption of foods and beverages rich in phenolics is correlated with reduced incidence of heart disease. In this study, four phenolic compounds: (1) 3,4,5-trihydroxybenzoic acid (gallic acid); (2) trans 3,4',5-trihydroxystilbene (trans-resveratrol); (3) 3,3',4',5,7-pentahydroxyflavone (quercetin) and its glycoside (4) 3,3',4',5,7-pentahydroxyflavone-3-rutinoside (Rutin) have been subjected to antioxidant study by a fluorimetric assay. In this method, the rate of peroxidation induced by 2,2'-azobis (2-methylpropionamidine) dihydrochloride was monitored through the loss of fluorescence of the protein B-phycoerythrin (B-PE). Under appropriate conditions, the loss of B-PE fluorescence in the presence of reactive species is an index of oxidative damage of the protein. The inhibition of the action of reactive species by phenolic compounds, reflected in the protection against the loss of B-PE fluorescence in the fluorimetric assay, is a measure of its antioxidant capacity against the reactive species. The antioxidant effects of phenolic compounds have been investigated at different concentrations to relate activity to structural effects. It has been observed that the fluorescence decay due to peroxyl radical attack on B-PE decreases exponentially with time. As a reference compound for antioxidant capacity we used 6-hydroxy-2,5,7,8-tetramethyl-chroman-2-carboxylicacid (trolox), a water soluble tocopherol analogue. This compound reacts rapidly with peroxyl radicals, and, until the trolox is consumed, no loss in phycoerythrin fluorescence is observed. A linear correlation of the net protection value with the concentration of trolox was demonstrated. The phenolic compounds studied react with peroxyl radicals in a similar way to trolox. Quercetin and rutin were shown to have strong antioxidant activities. The results obtained here are in agreement with previous studies confirming that quercetin is the most antioxidant of the four polyphenolics.


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