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J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Mar 24;58(6):3371-9. doi: 10.1021/jf903881s.

Thermal treatment of eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) increases the antioxidant content and the inhibitory effect on human neutrophil burst.

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CRA-IAA, Agricultural Research Council, Food Technology Research Unit, via Venezian 26, Milan, Italy.


The aim of this study was to compare the amount and activity of phytonutrients in raw, grilled, and boiled eggplant fruit using chemical measures and a biological assay of oxidative bursts in human neutrophils. The thermally treated samples showed various changes in their chemical composition (dry matter, soluble solids, acidity, and the amount of alcohol insoluble substances) due to the cooking processes and were much richer in the main phenolic compounds such as chlorogenic and caffeic acids, which are known to be antioxidants. Consequently, their free radical scavenging activity was significantly higher, especially that of superoxide anion. The biological assay of oxidative bursts from human neutrophils in the presence of N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine confirmed the greater activity of extracts of the cooked eggplants with respect to raw eggplants. Successive extract dilutions showed a significant activity up to 1.25 microg/mL after cooking, while raw fruits resulted in an activity up to 10.00 microg/mL. These results showed that the thermal treatment commonly used before consumption can increase the content and biological activity of antioxidant compounds of eggplants.

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