Hurdles and pitfalls in measuring antioxidant efficacy: A critical evaluation of ABTS, DPPH, and ORAC assays

Karen Schaich, X. Tian, J. Xie

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

109 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Assays developed to measure radical scavenging ability of natural compounds have been used as a basis for ranking and recommending best foods for consumption. However, assays often were adapted for screening assays with inadequate consideration of reaction chemistry, particularly kinetics. Recent research results raise serious questions about the chemistry, execution, and application of these assays. This paper critically evaluates conceptual and technical issues that limit use and compromise validity of three commonly-used assays - TEAC/ABTS•+, DPPH, and ORAC. Recommendations are made for discontinuing use of ABTS•+ and DPPH radicals for measuring radical quenching, redirecting them instead to distinguishing electron transfer reaction mechanisms. Conditions required for accurate results in ORAC are reviewed, and recommendations are made for redirecting this assay to distinguishing compounds that quench radicals by hydrogen atom transfer. The mechanistic information so gained can be then applied to understanding how natural antioxidants can be used most effectively in foods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-125
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Functional Foods
Volume14
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

Fingerprint

Antioxidants
antioxidants
Food
assays
Hydrogen
Electrons
reaction chemistry
Research
reaction mechanisms
food consumption
electron transfer
hydrogen
2,2'-azino-di-(3-ethylbenzothiazoline)-6-sulfonic acid
Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity
chemistry
screening
kinetics

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

Cite this

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Hurdles and pitfalls in measuring antioxidant efficacy : A critical evaluation of ABTS, DPPH, and ORAC assays. / Schaich, Karen; Tian, X.; Xie, J.

In: Journal of Functional Foods, Vol. 14, 01.04.2015, p. 111-125.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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