Screening of Plant Extracts for Antioxidant Activity: a Comparative Study on Three Testing Methods

I. Koleva, T.A. van Beek, J.P.H. Linssen, Æ. de Groot, L.N. Evstatieva

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Three methods widely employed in the evaluation of antioxidant activity, namely 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging method, static headspace gas chromatography (HS-GC) and -carotene bleaching test (BCBT), have been compared with regard to their application in the screening of plant extracts. The strengths and limitations of each method have been illustrated by testing a number of extracts, of differing polarity, from plants of the genus Sideritis, and two known antioxidants (butylated hydroxytoluene and rosmarinic acid). The sample polarity was important for the exhibited activity in the BCBT and HS-GC methods but not for the DPPH method. The complex composition of the extracts and partition phenomena affected their activity in each assay. The value of the BCBT method appears to be limited to less polar samples. Although slow, the HS-GC method is preferable for assessing the antioxidant inhibitory properties on the formation of unwanted secondary volatile products. Being rapid, simple and independent of sample polarity, the DPPH method is very convenient for the quick screening of many samples for radical scavenging activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-17
JournalPhytochemical Analysis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • performance liquid-chromatography
  • radical-scavenging activity
  • tea aspalathus-linearis
  • natural antioxidants
  • oxidative stability
  • methyl linoleate
  • alpha-tocopherol
  • phenolic-acids
  • vegetable-oils
  • beta-carotene


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