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Phytochem Anal. 2008 Mar-Apr;19(2):169-78.

Evaluation of spectrophotometric methods for screening of green rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) and green honeybush (Cyclopia genistoides) extracts for high levels of Bio-active compounds.

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ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij, Private Bag X5026, Stellenbosch, 7599, South Africa.


The potential of UV spectrophotometry and an aluminium chloride (AlCl(3)) colorimetric method to determine the dihydrochalcone (DHC) and mangiferin contents of green rooibos and honeybush (C. genistoides) extracts, respectively, was investigated. The DHC content of rooibos water extracts, determined using UV spectroscopy, correlated with the sum of the aspalathin and nothofagin contents as quantified using HPLC (r = 0.98). A correlation coefficient of 0.91 was obtained when correlating the mangiferin content of C. genistoides methanol extracts, determined by the AlCl(3) colorimetric method, with the results obtained by HPLC. Using the linear equations from the correlations it was possible to predict the DHC and mangiferin contents of extracts from the respective spectrophotometric measurements to a reasonable accuracy as an alternative to HPLC. The total polyphenol (TP) content of rooibos water extracts can also be determined using UV spectrophotometry and aspalathin as a standard (r = 0.99) as an alternative to the Folin-Ciocalteau method. The TP content of rooibos extracts correlated (r = 0.99) with its total antioxidant activity (TAA) as determined with the ABTS radical cation scavenging assay, but the TP content of C. genistoides water extracts is not a good indication of their TAA (r = 0.27). The aspalathin content of rooibos extracts correlated with their TAA (r = 0.96), but the mangiferin content of honeybush water extracts only gave a moderate correlation with their TAA (r = 0.75).

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