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Free Radic Res. 2010 Jul;44(7):711-20. doi: 10.3109/10715761003758114.

Non-enzymatic antioxidant capacity assays: Limitations of use in biomedicine.

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Department of Molecular Biophysics, University of Łódź, University of Rzeszów, Poland. <>


The 'Total antioxidant capacity' (TAC) is a parameter frequently used for characterization of food products and of the antioxidant status of the body. This mini-review shows shortcomings of TAC assays and points of concern that should be considered when performing and interpreting results of such assays. The term TAC is not optimal since the assay measures only part of antioxidant capacity, usually excluding enzymatic activities. Antioxidant and oxidant-regenerating enzymes in blood cells and the blood vessel wall have a profound impact on the antioxidant properties of blood plasma, which is not reflected in the in vitro assays of isolated plasma. The term 'Non-enzymatic antioxidant capacity' (NEAC) is suggested as more relevant than TAC. NEAC is estimated by various methods, which yield different values and results obtained using different methods do not always show satisfactory correlation. One reason for the discrepancy of results is the use of different oxidants in NEAC assays. The use of hydroxyl radical as the oxidant is not recommended in view of the high and non-specific reactivity of this species.

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