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J Agric Food Chem. 2008 May 28;56(10):3524-31. doi: 10.1021/jf073521f. Epub 2008 May 3.

Determination of the relative contribution of quercetin and its glucosides to the antioxidant capacity of onion by cyclic voltammetry and spectrophotometric methods.

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  • 1University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Plac Lodzki 4, 10-957 Olsztyn, Poland.


This paper describes the use of cyclic voltammetry (CV), spectrophotometric methods [Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC), peroxyl radical trapping capacity (PRTC), DPPH radical scavenging activity (RSA), and Folin-Ciocalteu reagent (FCR) reducing capacity], and photochemiluminescence (PCL) for the measurement of the antioxidant capacity of onion var. Sochaczewska and var. Szalotka. The antioxidant and reducing activity of the dominant onion flavonoids quercetin (Q), quercetin-3- O-beta-glucoside (Q3G), quercetin-4'- O-beta-glucoside (Q4'G), and quercetin-3,4'-di- O-beta-glucoside (Q3,4'G) were determined by spectrophotometric (TEAC and PRTC) and CV methods, respectively. The contribution of quercetin and its glucosides to the antioxidant capacity of onion was calculated in consequence of the qualitative and quantitative analysis of onion flavonoids by high-performance liquid chromatography-ultraviolet-mass spectrometry. The dominant forms of quercetin in the onion var. Sochaczewska and Szalotka included Q4'G (61 and 54%), Q3,4'G (37 and 44%), Q3G (1.4 and 1.1%), and free quercetin (1.1 and 0.7%), respectively. The CV experiment showed the highest reducing activity of Q while Q3G, Q4'G, and Q3,4'G exhibited about 68, 51, and 30% of the reducing power noted for Q. The order of the reducing activity of onion flavonoids was confirmed by their free radical scavenging activity and evaluated by TEAC and PRTC assays as follows: Q > Q3G > Q4'G > Q3,4'G. The Q4'G and Q3,4'G showed poor antioxidant activity under both applied spectrophotometric assays but still exhibited reducing activity based on CV experiments. The reducing capacity of onions determined by CV method was twice higher than the antioxidant capacity formed by water-soluble compounds (ACW) evaluated by PCL, and it was about 50% higher than PRTC and DPPH RSA results and the converted FCR reducing capacity. In contrast, the reducing capacity of onions determined by the CV method was 3-fold and about four times lower when compared to the antioxidant capacity evaluated by the TEAC method and that formed by lipid-soluble compounds (ACL) provided by PCL, respectively. The highest antioxidant capacity of onion was found under cumulative consideration of PCL (ACW + ACL) and TEAC assays. The relative contribution of Q and its glucosides to the antioxidant capacity of onions showed a low contribution of Q, Q3G, and Q3,4'G derived from CV, TEAC, and PRTC assays while the highest contribution to the antioxidant capacity of onions was provided by Q4'G.

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