FUENTES, J.; ARIAS, M.; ATALA, E.; PASTENE, E.; KOGAN, M.; SPEISKY, H.:
Food Chemistry, Volume 314, 1 June 2020, 126166.
The occurrence of the quercetin oxidation metabolite 2-(3,4-dihydroxybenzoyl)-2,4,6-trihydroxy-3(2H)-benzofuranone (BZF), whose antioxidant potency is notably higher than the antioxidant potency of quercetin, was investigated in twenty quercetin-rich plant foods. BZF was identified (HPLC-DAD-ESI-MS/MS) only in the dry outer scales of onions and shallots. Aqueous extracts of onions (OAE) and shallots (SAE) were evaluated for their antioxidant and cytoprotective properties. OAE, whose potency did not differ from SAE, protected ROS-exposed Caco2 cells against oxidative (78%) and cellular (90%) damage at a 3 µg/L concentration (corresponding to 0.03 nM of BZF). After chromatographic resolution of OAE, the BZF peak accounted fully and exclusively for its antioxidant effect. The antioxidant effects of OAE and of a pure BZF were described by two perfectly overlapping curves whose concentration-dependence was within the 3 × 10−4 to 102 nM BZF range. Such unprecedented low concentrations place BZF-containing plants on the frontier of the search for novel sources of antioxidants.