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J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Jun 27;60(25):6260-7. doi: 10.1021/jf301700j. Epub 2012 Jun 18.

Flavonoids with potent antioxidant activity found in young green barley leaves.

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Department of Environmental Toxicology, University of California , Davis, California 95616, USA.


Saponarin, a flavonoid found in young green barley leaves, possesses potent antioxidant activities, which are determined by its inhibition of malonaldehyde (MA) formation from various lipids oxidized by UV light or Fenton's reagent. Lipids used were squalene, ethyl linoleate, ethyl linolenate, ethyl arachidonate, octadecatetraenoic acid (ODTA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), cod liver oil, lecithin I, lecithin II, and blood plasma. The addition of saponarin inhibited the formation of MA from squalene upon UV irradiation at the level of 2 μmol/mL by almost 100%, whereas BHT inhibited its formation by 75% at the same level. Saponarin showed potent antioxidant activity toward fatty acid ethyl esters at levels >100 μg/mL. Saponarin inhibited MA formation in ODTA by 60%, in EPA by 50%, and in DHA by 43% at the level of 15 μmol/mL. Saponarin exhibited strong antioxidant activities with dose-response levels toward cod liver oil and lipoproteins (lecithins I and II), higher than those of α-tocopherol. A mixture of saponarin/lutonarin (4.5:1, w/w) inhibited MA formation appreciably from all lipids tested with dose response. This mixture exhibited highest effect toward cod liver oil (86%), followed by DHA, lecithin II, blood plasma, EPA, and lecithin I. Supplementation of young green barley leaves containing saponarin should be beneficial to health and may prevent diseases caused by oxidative damage such as various cancers, inflammations, and cardiovascular diseases.

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