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Issue 1, 2010
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Carotenoids can act as antioxidants by oxidizing the superoxideradical anion

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The electron transfer (ET) reaction between carotenoids and the superoxide radical anion is found to be not only a viable process but also a very unique one. The nature of the O2˙ inverts the direction of the transfer, with respect to ET involving other ROS: the O2˙ becomes the electron donor and carotenoids (CAR) the electron acceptor. Therefore the “antioxidant” activity of CAR when reacting with O2˙ lies in their capacity to prevent the formation of oxidant ROS. This peculiar charge transfer is energetically feasible in non-polar environments but not in polar media. In addition the relative reactivity of CAR towards O2˙ is drastically different from their reactivity to other ROS. Asthaxanthin (ASTA) is predicted to be a better O2˙ quencher than LYC and the other CAR. The CAR + O2˙ reactions were found to be diffusion controlled. The agreement with available experimental data supports the density functional theory results from the present work.

Graphical abstract: Carotenoids can act as antioxidants by oxidizing the superoxide radical anion

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Supplementary files

Article information

27 Aug 2009
01 Oct 2009
First published
06 Nov 2009

Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2010,12, 193-200
Article type

Carotenoids can act as antioxidants by oxidizing the superoxide radical anion

A. Galano, R. Vargas and A. Martínez, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2010, 12, 193
DOI: 10.1039/B917636E

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