Antioxidants from wild plants: sources, features and assays

Maria S. Gião, A. Catarina Guedes, F. Xavier Malcata*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Antioxidants have been classically employed in the food industry and elsewhere, mainly as preservatives. Further to this deed, antioxidants are nowadays increasingly sought as components of the diet owing to their benefits upon human health - via protection of cells against oxidative stress, which might otherwise lead to cell damage and death; coronary heart diseases, ulcers, cancers and neurogenerative diseases - besides overall ageing, are but a few examples of diseases and health conditions that can be prevented (or, at least, delayed) via regular and balanced ingestion of antioxidants. Antioxidants can be chemically synthesized, or else extracted from biological samples - especially from plants. Natural antioxidants have been in greater and greater demand, in response to a more environmentally-aware consumer population. The most abundant antioxidants in plants are polyphenols; deprived of nitrogen, these arenes substituted by hydroxyl groups possess more than one phenol ring, and are mainly generated via the shikimate or the acetate pathways. This chapter reviews the most important literature sources pertaining to wild plants from which extracts have been obtained that possess antioxidant capacity; wild plants from the Mediterranean area are discussed as a case study towards this endeavor. The mechanisms of antioxidant action in biological systems are briefly considered, as well as the analytical assays available to detect and quantitate them.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWild plants
Subtitle of host publicationidentification, uses and conservation
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Pages63-104
Number of pages42
ISBN (Print)9781612099668
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

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