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A Comprehensive Study on Antioxidant Properties of Crude Extracts from Fruits of Berberis vulgaris L., Cornus mas L. and Mahonia aquifolium Nutt

Free radicals ubiquitous in the environment affect a human organism, resulting, under oxidative stress-induced damage, in many diseases [Halliwell & Gutteridge, 1984; Gutteridge, 1993]. It is thus necessary to fi nd the so-called exogenous antioxidants that can support the organism in its struggle against the actions of free radicals [Jacob & Burri, 1996]. It would be best if a well-balanced and differentiated diet supplied appropriate amounts of such substances. Polyphenols contained in e.g. fruits and vegetables constitute a large group of health-boosting substances whose activity depends to a large extent on their antioxidant action [Liu, 2003, 2004]. Producers of processed fruit are eager to attract consumers with new and attractive products. In recent years, increasing attention has been paid by producers to lesser known fruits, such as cornelian cherry (Cornus mas L.), barberry (Berberis vulgaris L.) and mahonia (Mahonia aquifolium Nutt.) which possess unusual fl avour, and are rich in antioxidants and natural colorants. Moreover, fruits and leaves of these plants are known for their biological activity, such as e.g. anti-histaminic, anti-infl ammatory, anti-malarial, hepatoprotective and vasodilatory [Ji et al., 2000; Seeram et al., 2002; Fatehi et al., 2005; Minaiyan et al., 2011]. The antioxidant activity of Berberis vulgaris and Mahonia aquifolium has been poorly known until now [Račková et al., 2007; Koncić et al., 2010]. It was found that Berberis vulgaris possesses some radical-scavenging and antioxidant activities, as determined by the scavenging effect on DPPH•radical, ferric reducing power (FRAP) and -carotene-linoleic acid model systems. Fruits of Cornus mas L. are known as the European and Asiatic cornelian cherry and are used in Europe as a raw material in the food industry [Vareed et al., 2006; Tural & Koca, 2008]. The fruits are very good for fresh consumption and very valuable for processing to produce syrups, juices, jam and other traditional products [Rop et al., 2010]. Popović et al. [2012] investigated the antioxidant activity of 10 genotypes of cornelian cherry from Vojvodina province (in Serbia) by different methods, including DPPH•, •NO, O2 •‾ antiradical power, reducing power (FRAP) and lipid peroxidation.