Recently, there has been growing interest in research into the role of plant-derived antioxidants in food and human health. The beneficial influence of many foodstuffs and beverages including fruits, vegetables, tea, coffee, and cacao on human health has been recently recognized to originate from their antioxidant activity. For this purpose, the most commonly methods used in vitro determination of antioxidant capacity of food constituents are reviewed and presented. Also, the general chemistry underlying the assays in the present paper was clarified. Hence, this overview provides a basis and rationale for developing standardized antioxidant capacity methods for the food, nutraceutical, and dietary supplement industries. In addition, the most important advantages and shortcomings of each method were detected and highlighted. The chemical principles of these methods are outlined and critically discussed. The chemical principles of methods of 2,2'-azinobis-(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonate) radical (ABTS(·+)) scavenging, 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH(·)) radical scavenging, Fe(3+)-Fe(2+) transformation assay, ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assay, cupric ions (Cu(2+)) reducing power assay (Cuprac), Folin-Ciocalteu reducing capacity (FCR assay), peroxyl radical scavenging, superoxide anion radical (O (2) (·-)) scavenging, hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) scavenging, hydroxyl radical (OH(·)) scavenging, singlet oxygen ((1)O(2)) quenching assay and nitric oxide radical (NO(·)) scavenging assay are outlined and critically discussed. Also, the general antioxidant aspects of main food components were discussed by a number of methods which are currently used for detection of antioxidant properties food components. This review consists of two main sections. The first section is devoted to main components in the foodstuffs and beverages. The second general section is some definitions of the main antioxidant methods commonly used for determination of antioxidant activity of components in the foodstuffs and beverages. In addition, there are given some chemical and kinetic basis and technical details of the used methods.
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