Effects of age and extraction solvent on phytochemical content and antioxidant activity of fresh Moringa oleifera L. leaves.Food Sci Nutr 2018; 6(8):2188-2198FS
Antioxidant activity (AOA) and phytochemical content of Moringa oleifera Lam leaves were determined as a function of their age and extraction solvent. Fresh Moringa leaves aged 30, 45, and 60 days were harvested and extracted with three solvents; methanol, ethanol, and water. AOA of leaf extracts was measured using radical scavenging assays (DPPH, ABTS, antiperoxide activity [APA]) and reducing assays (FRAP and total antioxidant capacity [TAC]), and these were correlated with total polyphenols (TPC), total flavonoids (TFC), and chlorophyll contents of leaves. Significant variability (p < 0.05) in TPC and AOA of Moringa leaf extracts was observed with age and extraction solvent as well as their interaction. TPC and TFC increased with maturity, except in aqueous extract. The 60-day-old leaves showed highest TPC, TFC, and tocopherol contents with highest DPPH activity. On their part, 30-day-old leaves recorded better vitamin C, chlorophyll, and carotenoids with highest ABTS activity and APA. Methanol was best extraction solvent for TPC (4.6 g GAE/100 g DM) while ethanol was for flavonoids (1.8 g CE/100 g DM). Ethanol extracts exhibited the highest DPPH activity (53.3%-71.1%), while both ethanolic and methanolic extracts had similar and higher ABTS + activity (3.83-3.86 g AAE/100 g DM). Strong positive correlations (r ≥ 0.8; p < 0.05) were observed between chlorophyll content and DPPH, ABTS, and APA, suggesting that chlorophyll was the major contributor to AOA. TAC was highest in aqueous solvent. Free radical scavenging activity in Moringa leaves is positively correlated to chlorophyll, TFC, and TPC while reducing power is positively correlated to chlorophyll and TPC. AOA of fresh Moringa leaf extract is a function of its phytochemical content and is influenced by both the age of the leaves and the extraction solvent used. Methanolic and ethanolic extracts of 45-day-old Moringa leaves exhibited best antioxidant potentials.