BACKGROUND: Growing interest in the replacement of synthetic food antioxidants by natural ones has fostered research on vegetable sources and screening of raw materials to identify new antioxidants. The food-processing industry generates substantial quantities of phenolic-rich by-products that could be valuable natural sources of antioxidants. In this study the antioxidant properties and total phenolic, flavonoid and flavonol contents of three industrial by-products, sugar beet pulp, sesame cake and potato peel, extracted with various solvents were examined. Since different antioxidant compounds have different mechanisms of action, several methods were used to assess the antioxidant efficacy of extracts.
RESULTS: Among the six solvents tested, methanol gave the highest extract yield of potato peel and sugar beet pulp, while diethyl ether gave the highest extract yield of sesame cake. Methanol exhibited the highest extraction ability for phenolic compounds, with total phenolics amounting to 2.91, 1.79 and 0.81 mg gallic acid equivalent g−1 dry weight in potato peel, sugar beet pulp and sesame cake extracts respectively, and also showed the strongest antioxidant capacity in the three assays used. All three methods proved that potato peel extract had the highest antioxidant activity owing to its high content of phenolic compounds and flavonoids.
CONCLUSION: On the basis of the results obtained, potato peel, sugar beet pulp and sesame cake extracts could serve as natural antioxidants owing to their significant antioxidant activity. Therefore they could be used as preservative ingredients in the food and/or pharmaceutical industries. Copyright © 2009 Society of Chemical Industry