Systematic characterisation of the structure and radical scavenging potency of Pu'Er tea ( ) polyphenol theaflavin†
The structure, energetics and radical scavenging potency of theaflavin (TF), a natural polyphenolic antioxidant found in oxidised tea, have been characterised by a series of density functional theory (DFT) determinations. Exploratory conformational searches yielded 153 distinct neutral structures. Results showed TF's structural preferences to be regulated by its unique fused double ring benzotropolone moiety, and its degree of planarity, with structural diversity, principally arising from variations of its nine –OH groups. The distinct 3D conformational ‘poses’ are shown to be stabilised by a complex network of intra-system interactions, damping overall structural floppiness. This rigidification, together with stability, is shown to be coupled with radical scavenging potency in the TF system. Radical scavenging via hydrogen atom abstraction (HAB) in H2O solution was determined to be spontaneous with very low reaction barriers (ΔGrel ∼ 4 kJ mol−1).
- This article is part of the themed collection: Mechanistic, computational & physical organic chemistry in OBC