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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Metabolomic and Microbial Profiling of Tropical/subtropical Fruits and Small Fruits for Quality Factors and Microbial Stability

Location: Citrus and Other Subtropical Products Research

Title: Improved removal of ascorbate interference in the folin-ciocalteu assay of “total phenolic content”

item Ford, Bryan
item Bai, Jinhe
item Manthey, John
item Baldwin, Elizabeth

Submitted to: Proceedings of Florida State Horticultural Society
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: December 5, 2010
Publication Date: December 29, 2010
Citation: Ford, B.L., Bai, J., Manthey, J., Baldwin, E.A. 2010. Improved removal of ascorbate interference in the folin-ciocalteu assay of “total phenolic content”. Proceedings of Florida State Horticultural Society. 123:220-222.

Technical Abstract: The venerable Folin-Ciocalteu (F-C) assay for total phenolics can have severe limitations due to interference by ascorbic acid (AsA). For common fruit juices AsA interference can substantially exceed the magnitude of the total phenolic signal. Ascorbate oxidase (AO) has been a promising approach to eliminating the AsA interference, but the oxidation product of AsA by AO is dehydroascorbic acid (DHA) which is an F-C reductant that gives an apparent signal implying a molar strength of 15% to 30% of the original AsA. We have successfully used hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to degrade this residual DHA into products that are not F-C reductants. Using a model orange juice we have examined the impact of this small amount of (~450 ppm) of H2O2 on the orange and non-orange phenolic measurements. We sought chemical means to quench the H2O2 oxidative activities shortly after it destroyed the DHA, or to otherwise prevent interaction with the phenolics present without altering the F-C signal. Some promising candidates were identified, but none protected the phenolics completely. The best that can be said is that conditions can be easily set so that the alteration in phenolics represents less than a 10% perturbation in the untreated model juice F-C signal. While this is much better than the large errors originally seen from AsA (100% or more of a typical orange juice phenolic signal) or from the residual DHA (15 to 30% error), we strive to develop an approach to the point that it predictably causes no more than a 5% artifactual error.

Last Modified: 10/31/2014
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