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Open AccessArticle

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) Plants at Various Growth Stages Subjected to Extraction—Comparison of the Antioxidant Activity and Phenolic Profile

1
Institute of Sciences of Food Production, National Research Council, 10095 Grugliasco, Italy
2
Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research, Polish Academy of Sciences, Tuwima 10, 10-748 Olsztyn, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Antioxidants 2020, 9(6), 535; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9060535
Received: 21 May 2020 / Revised: 10 June 2020 / Accepted: 17 June 2020 / Published: 19 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antioxidant and Biological Properties of Plant Extracts)
The aim of this study was to evaluate the differences in the antioxidant activity and phenolic profile of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) extracts obtained from the aerial parts of plants harvested at five growth stages. In vitro assays were used to determine the antioxidant activity, i.e., ABTS•+ and DPPH scavenging activity, the ferric-reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) and the ability to inhibit β-carotene–linoleic acid emulsion oxidation. Phenolic compounds, such as mono- and dicaffeoylquinic acid isomers and caffeic acid hexose, were identified using the LC–TOF–MS/MS technique. The predominant compound during the growth cycle of the plant was 3,5-di-O-caffeoylquinic acid, whose content was the highest at the mid-flowering stage. The total phenolic content was also the highest in sunflowers at the mid-flowering stage. The main phenolic compound contents were closely correlated with ABTS•+ and DPPH scavenging activity and FRAP. No significant correlation was found between the total phenolic content and the antioxidant activity in the emulsion system. The highest antiradical activity and FRAP were generally determined in older plants (mid-flowering and late flowering stages). In conclusion, the aerial parts of sunflowers, in particular those harvested at the mid-flowering stage, are a good plant material from which to obtain phenolic compound extracts, albeit mainly of one class (esters of caffeic acid and quinic acid), with high antioxidant activity. View Full-Text
Keywords: aerial parts; morphological stages; scavenging activity; reducing power; emulsion oxidation; chlorogenic acid; dicaffeoylquinic acid aerial parts; morphological stages; scavenging activity; reducing power; emulsion oxidation; chlorogenic acid; dicaffeoylquinic acid
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gai, F.; Karamać, M.; Janiak, M.A.; Amarowicz, R.; Peiretti, P.G. Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) Plants at Various Growth Stages Subjected to Extraction—Comparison of the Antioxidant Activity and Phenolic Profile. Antioxidants 2020, 9, 535.

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