Food Analytical Methods

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 873–884 | Cite as

Total Soluble Phenolic Compounds Quantification Is Not As Simple As It Seems

  • Victor Costa Castro-Alves
  • Beatriz Rosana Cordenunsi


Despite the important role of total soluble phenolic compounds (TSPC) in plant and human health, a large number of studies that have evaluated the TSPC in food matrices did not consider possible interfering compounds such as soluble sugars, ascorbic acid (AA), and other reducing compounds in the Folin-Ciocalteu (F-C) quantification method. Thus, the present study describes steps for the optimization of a methodology to extract the TSPC using banana leaves as an example. In addition, the method was tested using ascorbate oxidase (AOX) as a tool to determine and emphasize the importance of the evaluation of AA interference in food products using orange juice as an example. The results showed that two extraction cycles with 80 % acetone and a posterior hexane extraction cycle to remove the excess of chlorophylls were able to obtain a good TSPC extraction yield from banana leaves without extracting compounds that may interfere with the F-C method. The methodology has proven to be accurate, precise, simple, rapid, and inexpensive. Additionally, an overestimation of the TSPC levels in AA-rich matrices was proven using orange juice as an example. Finally, it was demonstrated that the use of AOX could be a useful and simple tool to verify and reduce the AA interference. This work proves and emphasizes the importance of evaluating the yield of the extraction and interferences in the quantification of the TSPC in vegetal-derived foods, which are complex matrices that should be cautiously evaluated.


Banana leaves Orange juice Reducing sugars Ascorbic acid Phenolic compounds Folin-Ciocalteu 



The authors are grateful to The National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) for the postgraduate fellowship.

Conflict of Interest

Victor Costa Castro-Alves declares that he has no conflict of interest. Beatriz Rosana Cordenunsi declares that she has no conflict of interest. This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.

Supplementary material

12161_2014_9961_Fig6_ESM.jpg (184 kb)
Online Resource 1

Extracts and relative amounts of phenolics after the removal of excess chlorophylls using a solid-liquid extraction method. The upper figures of vials represent the extracts obtained with dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), ethyl ether, chloroform and hexane to remove the excess chlorophylls. The bottom figures of vials represent the extracts obtained with the optimized methodology (80% acetone) after the use of the solvents tested to remove the excess chlorophylls. Values represent the relative amount of the total soluble phenolic compounds (TSPC) in each extract when compared to the optimized methodology without a previous step to remove the excess chlorophylls (control). Values represent the mean ± SD of three experiments. Letters indicate significant differences between the control (ANOVA, Dunnet as post hoc; p < 0.01) (JPEG 184 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victor Costa Castro-Alves
    • 1
  • Beatriz Rosana Cordenunsi
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Food Science and Experimental NutritionUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.NAPAN—Food and Nutrition Research CenterUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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