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Antioxidant activity relationship of phenolic compounds in Hypericum perforatum L.

Dejan Z Orčić1, Neda M Mimica-Dukić1*, Marina M Francišković1, Slobodan S Petrović2 and Emilija Đ Jovin1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Environmental Protection, University of Novi Sad Faculty of Sciences, Trg Dositeja Obradovića 3, Novi Sad, Serbia

2 BIOSS, Bulevar Oslobođenja 401i, Belgrade, Serbia

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Chemistry Central Journal 2011, 5:34  doi:10.1186/1752-153X-5-34

Published: 25 June 2011



The St John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum; Clusiaceae) has been used in traditional and modern medicine for a long time due to its high content of biologically active phenolics. The purpose of this work was to develop a method for their fractionation and identification, and to determine the most active antioxidant compounds in plant extract.


An LC-MS method which enables fast qualitative and semiquantitative analysis was developed. The composition determined is in agreement with the previous results, where 6 flavonoids, 4 naphthodianthrones and 4 phloroglucinols have been identified. Significant antioxidant activity was determined for most of the fractions by DPPH assay (the lowest IC50 of 0.52 μg/ml), NO scavenging (6.11 μg/ml), superoxide scavenging (1.86 μg/ml), lipid peroxidation (0.0079 μg/ml) and FRAP (the highest reduction capacity of 104 mg Fe equivalents/g) assays.


LC-MS technique has been successfully applied for a quick separation and identification of the major components of H. perforatum fractions. Majority of the fractions analyzed have expressed a very high antioxidative activity when compared to synthetic antioxidants. The antioxidant activity could be attributed to flavonoids and phenolic acids, while phloroglucinols and naphthodianthrones showed no significant activity. It is demonstrated that it is possible to obtain, by fractionation, H. perforatum preparations with significantly increased phloroglucinols-to-naphthodianthrones ratio (up to 95:5).

Graphical abstract