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J Chromatogr A. 2004 Jan 2;1022(1-2):67-75.

Analysis of polyphenolic antioxidants in star fruit using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry.

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Food Science & Technology Programme, Department of Chemistry, National University of Singapore, S3-06, Science Drive 4, Singapore 117543, Singapore.


Our previous study indicated that star fruit (Averrhoa carambola L.) is a very good source of natural antioxidants. However, it was still not clear which compounds were responsible for its antioxidant properties. The purpose of this study is to separate and identify compounds that contribute to total antioxidant activity in star fruit using HPLC and mass spectrometry (MS). HPLC coupled with a diode array detector (DAD) was used to characterise antioxidant peak in the juice or residue extract through spiking with free radicals. By analysing the antioxidant capacity and chromatograms of fractions from solid phase extraction, main antioxidants were attributed to phenolic compounds. The peaks were identified as L-ascorbic acid, (-)epicatechin and gallic acid in gallotannin forms. Other antioxidant peaks were further investigated using HPLC-ESI-MS-MS. Identification was confirmed with electronspray ionisation (ESI) MS-MS spectra of pure standards and singly-linked proanthocyanidins from pycnogenol. The major antioxidants were initially attributed to singly-linked proanthocyanidins that existed as dimers, trimers, tetramers and pentamers of catechin or epicatechin.

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