• Mamta
  • Kshipra MisraEmail author
  • Gurpreet Singh Dhillon
  • Satinder Kaur Brar
  • Mausam Verma


Antioxidants are a class of chemical substances naturally found in our food which can prevent or reduce the oxidative stress of the physiological system. The body is constantly producing free radicals due to regular use of oxygen. These free radicals are responsible for the cell damage in the body and contribute to various kinds of health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, macular degeneration, and cancer. Antioxidants being fantastic free radical scavengers help in preventing and repairing the cell damage caused by these radicals.

Plants and animals are the abundant source of naturally producing antioxidants. Alternately, antioxidants can also be synthesized by chemical process as well as from the different kinds of agro-related wastes using biological process. Based on their solubility, antioxidants are broadly categorized into two groups: water soluble and lipid soluble. In general, water-soluble antioxidants, such as ascorbic acid, glutathione, and uric acid, have functions in the cell cytosol and the blood plasma. Ascorbic acid is a redox catalyst which reduces and neutralizes the reactive oxygen species (ROS), glutathione has antioxidant properties as reducing agent and can be reversibly oxidized and reduced, while α-tocopherol, carotenoid, and ubiquinol are the examples of lipid-soluble antioxidants and protect the cell membranes from lipid peroxidation. Another commonly used classification is on the basis of their mechanism of action, i.e., primary or chain-breaking antioxidants and secondary or preventive antioxidants.

Antioxidants can also act as prooxidants when these are not present at the right place at the right concentration at the right time. The relative importance of the antioxidant and prooxidant activities of an antioxidant is an area of current research.

This chapter discusses the types, sources, synthesis, uses, and protective efficacy of various antioxidants.


Glutathione Reductase Trolox Equivalent Antioxidant Capacity Ferric Reduce Antioxidant Power Olive Mill Wastewater Synthetic Antioxidant 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are thankful to the Director of DIPAS, Delhi, for her constant support and encouragement. One of the authors, Ms. Mamta, is thankful to the University Grants Commission, Delhi, India, for getting the senior research fellowship.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mamta
    • 1
  • Kshipra Misra
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gurpreet Singh Dhillon
    • 2
    • 3
  • Satinder Kaur Brar
    • 4
  • Mausam Verma
    • 5
  1. 1.Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied SciencesDelhiIndia
  2. 2.Biorefining Conversions Network (BCN), Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional, Sciences (AFNS)University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.INRS-ETEUniversité du QuébecQuébecCanada
  4. 4.INRS-ETEUniversité du QuébecQuébecCanada
  5. 5.CO2 SolutionsQuébecCanada

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