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J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Jul 28;52(15):4669-74.

Estimation of scavenging activity of phenolic compounds using the ABTS(*+) assay.

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  • 1Laboratory of Food Chemistry and Technology, School of Chemistry, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece.


Observations on the applicability of the ABTS(*+) assay to define structure-activity relationships (SARs) among phenols (AH) were based on experimental data and theoretical calculations. All AH examined (hydroxycinnamic derivatives, simple polyphenols, polyhydroxybenzoates, and flavonoids) were found to be active toward ABTS(*+). Moreover, known weak radical scavengers (i.e., coumaric and isoferulic acids) were found to be efficient or comparatively active to caffeic or rosmarinic acids in contradiction to the AH classification based on 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) data or the bond dissociation enthalpy values. This behavior was observed both in ethanol and in buffered (pH 7.4) environment. Resorcinol and phloroglucin were found to be more active than catechol and hydroquinone, whereas, among polyhydroxybenzoates, 2,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid was the least active, in line with the DPPH and theoretical data. Therefore, it can be argued that the ABTS(*+) assay may give an indication for the presence of antioxidants in a certain system but SARs cannot be readily inferred.

Copyright 2004 American Chemical Society

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