The Antioxidant and Free Radical Scavenging Activities of Chlorophylls and Pheophytins


Chlorophylls are important antioxidants found in foods. We explored the mechanisms through which the a and b forms of chlorophyll and of pheophytin (the Mg-chelated form of chlorophyll) reduce oxidation: we used comet assay to measure prevention of H2O2 DNA damage; we tested for quenching of 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH); we measured the ability to chelate Fe(II); and, we tested their ability to prevent formation of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) during Cu-mediated peroxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL) in a chemical assay. All chlorophylls and pheophytins showed significant dose-dependent activity in the assays, with the pheophytins being the strongest antioxidants. Thus, these chemicals can prevent oxidative DNA damage and lipid peroxidation both by reducing reactive oxygen species, such as DPPH, and by chelation of metal ions, such as Fe(II), which can form reactive oxygen species.

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C. Hsu, P. Chao, S. Hu and C. Yang, "The Antioxidant and Free Radical Scavenging Activities of Chlorophylls and Pheophytins," Food and Nutrition Sciences, Vol. 4 No. 8A, 2013, pp. 1-8. doi: 10.4236/fns.2013.48A001.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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