Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 66, Issue 1, pp 78–84 | Cite as

Phytochemical Profile, Antioxidant and Cytotoxic Activities of the Carob Tree (Ceratonia siliqua L.) Germ Flour Extracts

  • Luísa CustódioEmail author
  • Ana Luísa Escapa
  • Eliana Fernandes
  • Alba Fajardo
  • Rosa Aligué
  • Fernando Alberício
  • Nuno Neng
  • José Manuel Florêncio Nogueira
  • Anabela Romano


This work aimed to evaluate the phytochemical content and to determine the antioxidant and cytotoxic activities of methanol extracts of the carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua L.) germ flour. The extracts were rich in phenolic compounds, had considerable antioxidant activity, and reduced the viability of cervical (HeLa) cancer cells. The chemical content and the biological activities of the extracts were significantly affected by gender and cultivar. Female cultivar Galhosa had the highest levels of phenolic compounds, and the highest antioxidant activity. Extracts from the hermaphrodite trees and from the female cultivars Galhosa and Costela/Canela exhibited the highest cytotoxic activity. The most abundant compound was theophylline. The phenolic content was correlated to both antioxidant and cytotoxic activities. Our findings provide new knowledge about the health implications of consuming food supplemented with carob germ flour.


Alkaloids Antioxidant Antiproliferative Oxidative stress Phenolic compounds ROS Theophylline 



Radical scavenging activity



This work was partially supported by CICYT (CTQ2006-03794/BQU), Instituto de Salud Carlos III (CB06_01_0074 and PI060624), the Generalitat de Catalunya (2005SGR 00662), the Institute for Research in Biomedicine, and the Barcelona Science Park. L. Custódio thanks to the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) for a post-doctoral grant (grant SFRH/BPD/20736/2004). The authors thank DANISCO Portugal Industrias de Alfarroba, LDA for providing the germ flour samples.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luísa Custódio
    • 1
    • 7
    Email author
  • Ana Luísa Escapa
    • 1
  • Eliana Fernandes
    • 1
  • Alba Fajardo
    • 2
  • Rosa Aligué
    • 2
  • Fernando Alberício
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Nuno Neng
    • 6
  • José Manuel Florêncio Nogueira
    • 6
  • Anabela Romano
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Centre of Genomics and Biotechnology (IBB/CGB), Faculty of Sciences and TechnologyUniversity of AlgarveFaroPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Cell Biology, School of MedicineUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Institute for Research in BiomedicineBarcelona Science ParkBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.CIBER-BBN, Networking Centre on Bioengineering, Biomaterials and NanomedicineBarcelona Science ParkBarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.Department of Organic ChemistryUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  6. 6.Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Center of Chemistry and BiochemistryUniversity of Lisbon, Faculty of SciencesLisbonPortugal
  7. 7.CCMAR—Center of Marine Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and TechnologyUniversity of AlgarveFaroPortugal

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