Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 72, Issue 4, pp 388–395 | Cite as

The Protective Effect of Whole Honey and Phenolic Extract on Oxidative DNA Damage in Mice Lymphocytes Using Comet Assay

  • Ni Cheng
  • Yuan Wang
  • Wei CaoEmail author
Original Paper


In this study, the antioxidant activity and the protective effect against hydrogen peroxide-induced DNA damage were assessed for five honeys of different botanical origin. Seven phenolic acids were detected in the honey samples. Ferulic acid was the most abundant phenolic acid detected in longan honey, jujube honey and buckwheat honey. Ellagic acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid and protocatechuic acid were the main phenolic acids detected in vitex honey. Of all honey samples tested, the highest total phenolic content and antioxidant activity were found in buckwheat honey, whereas the lowest total phenolic content and antioxidant activity were found in locust honey. Treatment with hydrogen peroxide induced a 62% increase in tail DNA in mice lymphocytes, and all studied honeys significantly inhibited this effect (P < 0.05). The buckwheat honey with higher antioxidant capability also exhibited super protective effect than others. Phenolic extracts of honey displayed greater protective effects than whole honey in comet assay. The hydrogen peroxide-generated increase in 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) was effectively inhibited by the honeys studied (P < 0.05). Moreover, a dose-effect relationship between honey concentration and its protective effect was clearly observed in this study. It can be deduced that phenolic acids of honey can penetrate into lymphocytes and protect DNA from oxidative damage by scavenging hydrogen peroxide and/or chelating ferrous ions.


DNA damage Antioxidant Phenolic extract Honey Comet assay 



This work was financially supported by The National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 31272510 and no. 31602013).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The peripheral blood of mice was used in this study. The animal ethical approval communication number is SCXK 2012–003.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Food Science and Engineering, School of Chemical EngineeringNorthwest UniversityXi’an CityChina

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