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J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Sep 26;60(38):9603-8. Epub 2012 Sep 18.

Relevance of carnosic acid, carnosol, and rosmarinic acid concentrations in the in vitro antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of Rosmarinus officinalis (L.) methanolic extracts.

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Department of Natural Resources, Murcia Institute of Agri-Food Research and Development (IMIDA) , c/Mayor s/n, 30150 La Alberca (Murcia), Spain.


The importance of the diterpenic and rosmarinic acid content in the biological activities of rosemary extracts has been studied previously, but how the relationship between the concentration of these components affects their antioxidant and antibacterial activities has received little attention. Accordingly, from a total of 150 plants, 27 methanolic extracts were selected, for their similar diterpene contents but different ratios between carnosic acid and carnosol concentrations. In extracts with similar rosmarinic acid contents but differing proportions between carnosic acid and carnosol, the two diterpenes were seen to equally affect the in vitro antioxidant activity; however, and related with the antibacterial efficiency, this biological activity improved when carnosol was the major diterpene component.

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