Mechanism of antioxidant capacity assays and the CUPRAC (cupric ion reducing antioxidant capacity) assay

Apak R., Guclu K. , Ozyurek M., Celik S. E.

MICROCHIMICA ACTA, vol.160, no.4, pp.413-419, 2008 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 160 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00604-007-0777-0
  • Title of Journal : MICROCHIMICA ACTA
  • Page Numbers: pp.413-419


We report on the application of a simple and versatile antioxidant capacity assay for dietary polyphenols, vitamin C and vitamin E utilizing the copper(II)-neocuproine (Cu(II)-Nc) reagent as the chromogenic oxidant, which we term the CUPRAC (cupric reducing antioxidant capacity) method. It involves mixing the antioxidant solution (directly or after acid hydrolysis) with solutions Of CuCl2, neocuproine, and ammonium acetate at pH 7, and measuring the absorbance at 450 nm after 30 min. Slowly reacting antioxidants required an incubation at 5 0 degrees C for 20 min for color development. The flavonoid glycosides were hydrolyzed to their corresponding aglycones by refluxing in 1.2 M HCI-containing 50% MeOH for fully exhibiting their antioxidant potencies. Certain compounds also needed incubation after acid hydrolysis for color development. The CUPRAC absorbances of mixture constituents were additive, indicating lack of chemical deviations from Beer's law. The CUPRAC antioxidant capacities of a wide range of polyphenolics are reported in this work and compared to those found by ABTS/persulfate and Folin assays. The trolox-equivalent capacities of the antioxidants were linearly correlated (r=0.8) to those found by ABTS but not to those of Folin. The highest antioxidant capacities in the CUPRAC method were observed for epicatechin gallate, epigallocatechin gallate, quercetin, fisetin, epigallocatechin, catechin, caffeic acid, epicatechin, gallic acid, rutin, and chlorogenic acid in this order, in accordance with theoretical expectations. The experiences of other CUPRAC users also are summarized.