Food Science and Biotechnology

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 159–164 | Cite as

Antioxidant activity and α-glucosidase inhibitory potential of onion (Allium cepa L.) extracts

  • Myung-Hee Kim
  • Sung-Hoon Jo
  • Hae-Dong Jang
  • Mee Sook Lee
  • Young-In KwonEmail author
Research Article


In the current study, we evaluated total phenolics, phenolic profile, and oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) of onion (Allium cepa L.). The inhibitory activity of onion extracts against porcine pancreatic α-amylase and rat intestinal α-glucosidase was also investigated. Ethyl alcohol extract of onion skin had the highest α-glucosidase inhibitory activity, ORAC value and total phenolic content, followed by water extract of skin, ethyl alcohol extract of pulp, and water extract of pulp. The α-glucosidase inhibitory activity of the extracts was compared to selected specific phenolics detected in the extracts using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Quercetin, a major phenolic compound in onion extract had high α-glucosidase inhibitiory activity. The α-glucosidase inhibitory activity of the onion extracts correlated to the phenolic content and antioxidant activity of the extracts. These results suggest that onion which has high quercetin content has the potential to contribute as a dietary supplement for controlling hyperglycemia and oxidative stress-linked diabetes complications.


antioxidant hyperglycemia onion glucosidase inhibitor oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Puls W, Keup U, Krause H, Thomas PG, Hoffmeister F. Glucosidase inhibition: A new approach to the treatment of diabetes, obesity, and hyperlipoproteinemia. Naturwissenschaften 64: 536–537 (1977)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Horii S, Fukasse K, Matsuo T, Kameda K, Asano N, Masui Y. Synthesis and α-d-glucosidase inhibitory activity of N-substituted valiolamine derivatives as potent oral antidiabetic agents. J. Med. Chem. 29: 1038–1046 (1987)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bischoff H, Puls W, Krause HP, Schutt H, Thomas G. Pharmacological properties of the novel glucosidase inhibitors BAY m 1099 (miglitol) and BAY o 1248. Diabetes Res. Clin. Pr. 1: 53–63 (1983)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Puls W, Keup U. Metabolic studies with an amylase. Vol. 3, pp. 391–409. In: Recent Advances in Obesity Research. Howard A (ed). Newman Publisher, London, UK (1975)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bischoff H. Pharmacology of glucosidase inhibitor. Eur. J. Clin. Invest. 24: 3–10 (1994)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Kwon Y-I, Vattem DA, Shetty K. Evaluation of clonal herbs of Lamiaceae species for management of diabetes and hypertension. Asia Pac. J. Clin. Nutr. 15: 107–118 (2005)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Brownlee M. The pathobiology of diabetic complications. Diabetes 54: 1615–1625 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kaiser N, Sasson S, Feener EP, Boukobza N, Higashi S, Moller DE. Differential regulation of glucose transport and transporters by glucose in vascular endothelial and smooth muscle cells. Diabetes 42: 80–89 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kawamura M, Heinecke JW, Chait A. Pathophysiological concentrations of glucose promote oxidative modification of low density lipoprotein by a superoxide dependent pathway. J. Clin. Invest. 94: 771–778 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kim SJ, Kim GH. Quantification of quercetin in different parts of onion and its DPPH radical scavenging and antibacterial activity. Food Sci. Biotechnol. 15: 39–43 (2006)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Azuma K, Minami Y, Ippoushi K, Terao J. Lowering effects of onion intake on oxidative stress biomarkers in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. J. Clin. Biochem. Nutr. 40: 131–140 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    EI-Demerdash FM, Yousef MI, Abou EI-Naga NI. Biochemical study on the hypoglycemic effects on onion and garlic in alloxaninduced diabetic rats. Food Chem. Toxicol. 43: 57–63 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Lee SK, Hwang JY, Kang MJ, Kim YM, Jung SH, Lee JH, Kim JI. Hypoglycemic effect of onion skin extract in animal models of diabetes mellitus. Food Sci. Biotechnol. 17: 130–134 (2008)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Griffiths G, Trueman L, Crowther T, Thomas B. Onions, a global benefit to health. Phytother. Res. 17: 603–615 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Rigelsky JM, Sweet BV. Hawthorn, pharmacology, and therapeutic uses. Am. J. Health-Syst. Ph. 59: 417–422 (2002)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Knekt P, Kumpulainen J, Järvinen R, Rissanen H, Heliövaara M, Reunanen A, Hakulinen T, Aromaa A. Flavonoid intake and risk of chronic diseases. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 76: 560–568 (2002)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Shetty K, Curtis OF, Levin RE, Wikowsky R, Ang W. Prevention of verification associated with in vitro shoot culture of oregano (Origanum vulgare) by Pseudomonas spp. J. Plant Physiol. 147: 447–451 (1995)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Kurihara H, Fukami H, Asami S, Totoda Y, Nakai M, Shibata H, Yao XS. Effects of oolong tea on plasma antioxidative capacity in mice loaded with restraint stress assessed using the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) assay. Biol. Pharm. Bull. 27: 1093–1098 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Cao G, Sofic E, Prior RL. Antioxidant and prooxidant behavior of flavonoids: Structure-activity relationships. Free Radical Bio. Med. 22: 749–760 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kwon Y-I, Apostolidis E, Kim Y-C, Shetty K. Health benefits of traditional corn, beans, and pumpkin; In vitro studies for hyperglycemia and hypertension management. J. Med. Foods 10: 266–275 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Kim SH, Park JD, Lee LS, Han D. Effects of heat processing on the chemical composition of green tea extract. Food Sci. Biotechnol. 9: 214–217 (2000)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Robards K, Prenzler PD, Tucker G, Swatsitang P, Glover W. Phenolic compounds and their role in oxidative processes in fruits. Food Chem. 66: 401–436 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Kahkonen MP, Hopia AI, Vuorela HJ, Rauha J, Pihlaja K, Kujala TS, Heinonen M. Antioxidant activity of plant extracts containing phenolic compounds. J. Agr. Food Chem. 47: 3954–3962 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kim D-S, Kwon HJ, Jang H-D, Kwon Y-I. In vitro α-glucosidase inhibitory potential and antioxidant activity of selected Lamiaceae species inhabited in Korean peninsula. Food Sci. Biotechnol. 18: 239–244 (2009)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Gao H, Kawabata J. Importance of the B ring and its substitution on the α-glucosidase inhibitory activity of baicalein, 5,6,7-trihydroxyflavone. Biosci. Biotech. Bioch. 68: 1858–1864 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Tadera K, Minami Y, Takamatsu K, Matsuoka T. Inhibition of α-glucosidase and α-amylase by flavonoids. J. Nutr. Sci. Vitaminol. 52: 149–153 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Hertog MGL, Kromhout D, Aravanis C, Blacburn H, Buzina R, Fridanza F, Giampaoli S, Jansen A, Menotti A, Nedeljkovic S, Pekkarinen M, Simic BS, Toshima H, Feskens EJM, Hollman PCH, Kattan MB. Flavonoid intake and long-term risk of coronary heart disease and cancer in the seven counties study. Arch. Int. Med. 155: 381–386 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Paganga G, Miller N, Rice-Evans CA. The polyphenolic contents of fruits and vegetables and their antioxidant activities. What does a serving constitute? Free Radical Res. 30: 153–162 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Block G, Patterson B, Subar A. Fruit, vegetables, and cancer prevention: A review of the epidemiological evidence. Nutr. Cancer 18: 1–29 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Korean Society of Food Science and Technology and Springer Netherlands 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Myung-Hee Kim
    • 1
  • Sung-Hoon Jo
    • 1
  • Hae-Dong Jang
    • 1
  • Mee Sook Lee
    • 1
  • Young-In Kwon
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Food and NutritionHannam UniversityDaejeonKorea

Personalised recommendations