Polysaccharides from natural plant products are gaining considerable attention due to their multi-faceted health effects, as well their functional applications in food production. We reported the sequential extraction of mulberry leaf polysaccharides (MLPs) with hot buffer (HBSS), chelating agent (CHSS), dilute alkali (DASS) and concentrated alkali (CASS), in order to obtain polysaccharide fractions. Monosaccharide analysis proved that galactose (27.07%) and arabinose (25.99%) were the major sugars in HBSS, whereas arabinose (30.55%) was the major sugar in CHSS, and glucose was the major sugar in DASS (24.96%) and CASS (27.51%). The molecular weights of the polysaccharide fractions were 7.812 × 103
(HBSS), 3.279 × 103
(CHSS), 6.912 × 103
(DASS), and 1.408 × 103
kDa (CASS). HBSS and CASS showed the largest peak temperature and the highest endothermic enthalpy, respectively. Different antioxidant assays showed that the MLPs possessed appreciable antioxidant activities in a dose-dependent manner. At 5 mg/mL, HBSS and DASS possessed the largest 2,2-diphenyl-1-picryl-hydrazyl-hydrate (DPPH) radical scavenging activity (96.82%). HBSS exhibited the highest reducing power, and DASS rendered the strongest ABTS radical scavenging activity (99.69%). CHSS performed the best hydroxyl radical scavenging activity (64.22%) and Fe2+
-chelating ability (96.36%). Our results suggested that MLPs could be a promising source of natural antioxidants for use in the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries.
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