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J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Jan 29;51(3):615-22.

Quantitative kinetic analysis of hydrogen transfer reactions from dietary polyphenols to the DPPH radical.

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UMR A 408 INRA-Université d'Avignon, Site Agroparc, Domaine St-Paul, 84914 Avignon Cedex 9, France.


Diphenylpicrylhydrazyl (DPPH) is widely used for quickly assessing the ability of polyphenols to transfer labile H atoms to radicals, a likely mechanism of antioxidant protection. This popular test generally pays no attention to the kinetics of H atom transfer, which however could be even more important than the total H-atom-donating capacities (stoichiometry, EC50) typically evaluated. In the present work, a series of dietary polyphenols belonging to the most representative families (flavonols from onion, flavanol monomers and oligomers from barley, and caffeic acid and caffeoyl esters from artichoke and endive) are characterized not only by their total stoichiometries (n(tot)) but also by their rate constants of first H atom abstraction by DPPH (k(1)), deduced from the kinetic analysis of the decay of the DPPH visible band following addition of the antioxidant. The mildly reactive DPPH radical allows a good discrimation between polyphenols, as demonstrated by the relatively large ranges of k(1) (ca. 400-5000 M(-)(1) s(-)(1)) and n(tot) (ca. 1-5) values typically measured with antioxidants having a single polyphenolic nucleus. With antioxidants displaying more than one polyphenolic nucleus (procyanidin oligomers, dicaffeoyl esters), the kinetic analysis makes it possible to demonstrate significant differences in reactivity between the subunits (two distinct k(1) values whose ratio lies in the range 3-10) and nonadditive stoichiometries.

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