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Keywords:

  • antioxidant capacity;
  • electron transfer;
  • hydrogen atom transfer;
  • vegetables

ABSTRACT:  Many methods are available for determining food antioxidant capacity, which is an important topic in food and nutrition research and marketing. However, the results and inferences from different methods may vary substantially because each complex chemical reaction generates unique values. To get a complete and dynamic picture of the ranking of food antioxidant capacity, relative antioxidant capacity index (RACI), a hypothetical concept, is created from the perspective of statistics by integrating the antioxidant capacity values generated from different in vitro methods. RACI is the mean value of standard scores transformed from the initial data generated with different methods for each food item. By comparing the antioxidant capacity of 20 commonly consumed vegetables in the U.S. market that were measured with 7 chemical methods, we demonstrated that the RACI correlated strongly with each method. The significant correlation of RACI with an independent data set further confirmed that RACI is a valid tool to assess food antioxidant capacity. The key advantage of this integrated approach is that RACI is in a numerical scale with no units and has consistent agreement with chemical methods. Although it is a relative index and may not represent a specific antioxidant property of different food items, RACI provides a reasonably accurate rank of antioxidant capacity among foods. Therefore, it can be used as an integrated approach to evaluate food antioxidant capacity.