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      Characterization of Oxygenated Heterocyclic Compounds and in vitro Antioxidant Activity of Pomelo Essential Oil

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          Citrus essential oils are widely used for aromatherapy and the alternative treatment of chronic diseases. Beyond the aroma substances, they are known to contain bioactive nonvolatile components; however, little knowledge has been gained about nonvolatiles in the essential oil of pomelo ( Citrus grandis Osbeck), the largest citrus fruit. The purpose of this study was to analyze the nonvolatile oxygenated heterocyclic compounds (OHCs) of pomelo essential oils and evaluate their in vitro antioxidant activities for further development.


          Cold-pressed essential oil (CPEO) and distilled essential oil (DEO) were obtained from the peel of the Liangping pomelo cultivar. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with a photodiode array and fluorescence detection method was developed to identify and quantify the OHCs of the two essential oils. Ferric reducing antioxidant power and 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and 2-phenyl-4,4,5,5-tetramethyl-imidazoline-1-oxyl 3-oxide (PTIO) radical scavenging assays were used to determine the antioxidative capabilities.


          Thirteen OHCs were identified in CPEO. Coumarins such as meranzin (2.0 mmol L −1) and furanocoumarins such as isoimperatorin (1.3 mmol L −1) composed the majority of nonvolatiles in CPEO. These OHCs were characterized by high proportion (58%) of side chain epoxides. Five OHCs, namely, auraptenol, 6ʹ,7ʹ-dihydroxybergamottin (6ʹ,7ʹ-DHB), imperatorin, isoimperatorin and 8-geranyloxypsoralen were first identified in pomelo CPEO. Eight OHCs were detected at trace amounts in pomelo DEO. Antioxidant assays showed that CPEO was multiple times more potent than DEO regarding the total reducing power and radical scavenging capacity. Clearance of PTIO, a stable reactive oxygen species, followed slow kinetics.


          Coumarins and furanocoumarins, two families of OHCs, constituted most of the nonvolatile components in CPEO. The nonvolatiles contributed significantly to the in vitro antioxidant activity of CPEO. Pomelo CPEO showed good prospects as a potential long-lasting natural antioxidant.

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          Most cited references 49

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          Use of a free radical method to evaluate antioxidant activity

          LWT - Food Science and Technology, 28(1), 25-30
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            Free radicals and antioxidants in normal physiological functions and human disease.

            Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS, e.g. nitric oxide, NO(*)) are well recognised for playing a dual role as both deleterious and beneficial species. ROS and RNS are normally generated by tightly regulated enzymes, such as NO synthase (NOS) and NAD(P)H oxidase isoforms, respectively. Overproduction of ROS (arising either from mitochondrial electron-transport chain or excessive stimulation of NAD(P)H) results in oxidative stress, a deleterious process that can be an important mediator of damage to cell structures, including lipids and membranes, proteins, and DNA. In contrast, beneficial effects of ROS/RNS (e.g. superoxide radical and nitric oxide) occur at low/moderate concentrations and involve physiological roles in cellular responses to noxia, as for example in defence against infectious agents, in the function of a number of cellular signalling pathways, and the induction of a mitogenic response. Ironically, various ROS-mediated actions in fact protect cells against ROS-induced oxidative stress and re-establish or maintain "redox balance" termed also "redox homeostasis". The "two-faced" character of ROS is clearly substantiated. For example, a growing body of evidence shows that ROS within cells act as secondary messengers in intracellular signalling cascades which induce and maintain the oncogenic phenotype of cancer cells, however, ROS can also induce cellular senescence and apoptosis and can therefore function as anti-tumourigenic species. This review will describe the: (i) chemistry and biochemistry of ROS/RNS and sources of free radical generation; (ii) damage to DNA, to proteins, and to lipids by free radicals; (iii) role of antioxidants (e.g. glutathione) in the maintenance of cellular "redox homeostasis"; (iv) overview of ROS-induced signaling pathways; (v) role of ROS in redox regulation of normal physiological functions, as well as (vi) role of ROS in pathophysiological implications of altered redox regulation (human diseases and ageing). Attention is focussed on the ROS/RNS-linked pathogenesis of cancer, cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, hypertension, ischemia/reperfusion injury, diabetes mellitus, neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease), rheumatoid arthritis, and ageing. Topics of current debate are also reviewed such as the question whether excessive formation of free radicals is a primary cause or a downstream consequence of tissue injury.
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              Antioxidant activity of essential oils.

              Essential oils (EOs) are liquid mixtures of volatile compounds obtained from aromatic plants. Many EOs have antioxidant properties, and the use of EOs as natural antioxidants is a field of growing interest because some synthetic antioxidants such as BHA and BHT are now suspected to be potentially harmful to human health. Addition of EOs to edible products, either by direct mixing or in active packaging and edible coatings, may therefore represent a valid alternative to prevent autoxidation and prolong shelf life. The evaluation of the antioxidant performance of EOs is, however, a crucial issue, because many commonly used "tests" are inappropriate and give contradictory results that may mislead future research. The chemistry explaining EO antioxidant activity is discussed along with an analysis of the potential in food protection. Literature methods to assess EOs' antioxidant performance are critically reviewed.

                Author and article information

                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                02 March 2021
                : 15
                : 937-947
                [1 ]Citrus Research Institute, Southwest University , Chongqing, People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]Chengdu Centre Testing International Group Co., Ltd ., Chengdu, People’s Republic of China
                [3 ]Chongqing Beibei Agricultural and Rural Committee , Chongqing, People’s Republic of China
                [4 ]College of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Southwest University , Chongqing, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Leng Han Citrus Research Institute, Southwest University , No. 15 Ganjucun, Xiema, Beibei District, Chongqing, 400712, People’s Republic of China Email hanleng5@cric.cn
                Guolu Liang College of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Southwest University , No. 2 Tiansheng Road, Beibei District, Chongqing, 400715, People’s Republic of China Email lianggl@swu.edu.cn

                These authors contributed equally to this work

                © 2021 Li et al.

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                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 6, References: 49, Pages: 11
                Original Research


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