The present study was designed to determine the radioprotective effect of two phytochemicals, namely, quinic acid and chlorogenic acid, against X-ray irradiation-induced genomic instability in non-tumorigenic human blood lymphocytes. The protective ability of two phenolic acids against radiation-induced DNA damage was assessed using the alkaline comet assay in human blood lymphocytes isolated from two healthy human donors. A Siemens Mevatron MD2 (Siemens AG, USA, 1994) linear accelerator was used for irradiation. The results of the alkaline comet assay revealed that quinic acid and chlorogenic acid decreased the DNA damage induced by X-ray irradiation and provided a significant radioprotective effect. Quinic acid decreased the presence of irradiation-induced DNA damage by 5.99-53.57% and chlorogenic acid by 4.49-48.15%, as determined by the alkaline comet assay. The results show that quinic acid and chlorogenic acid may act as radioprotective compounds. Future studies should focus on determining the mechanism by which these phenolic acids provide radioprotection. (c) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.