Fucoidan, a group of sulfated heteropolysaccharide, was extracted from Laminaria japonica, an important economic alga species in China. Three sulfated polysaccharide fractions (F1, F2, and F3) were successfully isolated through anion-exchange column chromatography and had their antioxidant activities investigated employing various established in vitro systems, including superoxide and hydroxyl radical scavenging activity, chelating ability, and reducing power. Chemical analysis suggested that F1 and F3 were heteropolysaccharide in which galactose was the major component, while F2 was a typical fucoidan. All fractions possessed considerable antioxidant activity, and F1, F2 and F3 had stronger antioxidant ability than fucoidan in certain tests. The correlation between the sulfate content and scavenging superoxide radical ability was positive. Available data obtained with in vitro models suggested that the ratio of sulfate content/fucose was an effective indicator to antioxidant activity of the samples. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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