Saturday, September 25, 2010

Portuguese Propolis Varies in Phenol Levels

Phenols and Antioxidant Activity of Hydro-Alcoholic Extracts of Propolis from Algarve, South of Portugal
Food and Chemical Toxicology, Article in Press

Propolis is a natural honeybee product known to be beneficial for human health, with a complex chemical composition, highly dependent on the collection site. The objective of the present research was to evaluate phenols and antioxidant activity of propolis samples collected in three main areas of Algarve, South of Portugal.

Water revealed to be less effective for extracting phenolic compounds from propolis than the methanol and water/ethanol. The last two were good extraction solvents of phenols. Nevertheless water/ethanol was the solvent chosen because it was able to extract phenols in considerable amounts being less toxic than methanol.

In spring, higher amounts of phenols (total phenols, flavones, flavonols, flavanones and dihydroflavonols) were detected in hydro-alcoholic extracts of propolis than in winter.

Among the three main areas of Algarve where samples were collected, those from Barrocal had the highest levels of polyphenols, independent on the season (winter or spring). Within each area, the levels of phenols changed according to the zone.

Concerning antioxidant activity, samples from Barrocal presented better radical scavenging abilities than those from the remaining areas, independent on the antioxidant method and collection season. Such results correlated closely with the levels of total phenols, flavones and flavonols in samples.

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