Methanol extracts of aerial parts and roots of five centaury species (Centaurium erythraea, C. tenuiflorum, C. littorale ssp. uliginosum, C. pulchellum, and Schenkia spicata) were analysed for their main secondary metabolites: secoiridoid glycosides, a group of monoterpenoid compounds, and phenolics (xanthones and flavonoids), and further investigated for antioxidant capacity and antimicrobial activity. The results of ABTS, DPPH, and FRAP assays showed that above ground parts generally displayed up to 13 times higher antioxidant activity compared to roots, which should be related to higher phenolics content, especially flavonoids, in green plant organs. Secoiridoid glycosides showed no antioxidant activity. All the tested extracts demonstrated appreciative antibacterial (0.05-0.5 mg ml-1) and strong antifungal activity (0.1-0.6 mg ml-1). Our results imply that above ground parts of all centaury species studied, could be recommended for human usage as a rich source of natural antioxidants and also in food industry as strong antimicrobial agents for food preservation. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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