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Evaluation of antioxidant activity of parsley (Petroselinum crispum) essential oil and identification of its antioxidant constituents

Antioxidant capacities of the essential oil extracted from parsley (Petroselinum crispum) were evaluated by three different in vitro assays: b-carotene bleaching assay, DPPH free radical scavenging assay and Fe2+-metal chelating assay. Results showed that the parsley oil (PO) possessed a certain degree of antioxidant activities in terms of b-carotene bleaching capacity and free radical scavenging activity, but its metal chelating capacity was negligible. The antioxidant EC50 values of the b-carotene bleaching assay and DPPH free radical scavenging assay of the crude PO dissolved in methanol were measured in about 5.12 and 80.21 mg/mL, respectively. However, these values were much weaker than those of BHT in 0.01 and 0.58 mg/mL, and of a-tocopherol in 0.01 and 0.10 mg/mL. Isolation and identification of the inherent antioxidants in PO involved using various chromatographic techniques including silica gel open column chromatography, normal phase-HPLC and GC–MS. Myristicin in PO was found as a dominant compound (32.75%) that exhibited a moderate antioxidant activity. Apiol was the second dominant compound (17.54%), but it might be the major contributor to the antioxidant activity of PO. These results suggest that the PO and its two major components can be potential alternative natural antioxidants.

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