The effect of quercetin and myricetin on the stability of sunflower oil and oil-in-water emulsions was studied by storage experiments monitored by measurement of peroxide values, conjugated dienes, and headspace volatile analysis. Myricetin showed strong antioxidant activity in oils stored at 60 or 30°C and in oil-in-water emulsions stored at 30°C, whether tocopherols or citric acid were present or not; however, quercetin showed similar antioxidant activity in stripped sunflower oil but no activity in oils that contained tocopherols and citric acid. This showed that myricetin is effective owing to strong radical scavenging and metal-chelating properties, whereas quercetin has weaker radical scavenging activity, although it is also active by metal-chelation. The effects of copper and iron salts on the antioxidant activity of myricetin and quercetin were studied in sunflower oil and oil-in-water emulsions. Quercetin and myricetin enhanced the prooxidant effect of cupric chloride in oil-in-water emulsions (pH 7.4), but this effect was not observed with cupric stearate. The addition of myricetin to emulsions that contained ferric chloride at pH 5.4 also produced a strong prooxidant effect, and small prooxidant effects of flavonols were also detected in the presence of cupric chloride under these conditions. However, myricetin and quercetin reduced the prooxidant effect of ferric palmitate in oils. Myricetin also showed a strong antioxidant effect in oil that contained cupric stearate, although quercetin had no significant effect on the oxidative stability of this system. It therefore appears that flavonols may exert a prooxidant effect in the presence of metal salts, but the nature of the metal salt is important in determining whether a prooxidant effect occurs.
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Roedig-Penman, A., Gordon, M.H. Antioxidant properties of myricetin and quercetin in oil and emulsions. J Amer Oil Chem Soc 75, 169–180 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11746-998-0029-4