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Antioxidant activities, distribution of phenolics and free amino acids of Erica australis L. leaves and flowers collected in Algarve, Portugal

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Leaves and flowers from Erica plant possess nutritional and medicinal properties. We determined the antioxidant activity, phenolic, flavonoid and amino acid profiles of the leaves and flowers of this plant. Total amino acid content varied from 28 to 49 and essential amino acids from 8 to 20mg/g for flowers and leaves, respectively, with different distributions within the plant. From 16 phenolic compounds identified, delphinidin-3-glucoside, caffeic acid and cyanidin-3,5-glucoside in leaves and pelargonidin-3,5-glucoside in flowers were the compounds in highest amount, all with over 500g/g. Although flowers had higher contents of phenolic compounds (4000g/g) than leaves (3400g/g), they showed lower antioxidant activity, indicating that the antioxidant activity depends not only on the content of phenolics, but also on their type. This study shows that this plant has the potential to be used as an extra dietary source of amino acids and phenolic compounds and its consumption may provide health benefits.




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