Antioxidant behaviour of caffeine: Efficient scavenging of hydroxyl radicals

X. Shi, N. S. Dalal, A. C. Jain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

258 Scopus citations


Considerable controversy exists in the literature regarding the toxicity of coffee, including its possible carcinogenic and anticarcinogenic properties. This study reports on the reaction of 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine (caffeine) with the hydroxyl radical (·OH), as investigated by electron spin resonance (ESR) spin trapping. The ·OH was generated by the Fenton reaction (Fe2+ + H2O2) as well as by the reaction of chromium(V) with H2O2. The results show that caffeine effectively scavenges ·OH with a reaction rate constant of ∼ 5.9 × 109 m-1 sec-1 that is comparable with those of other efficient ·OH radical scavengers. ESR measurements provide evidence that a caffeine-derived oxygen-centred radical is formed in the reaction of caffeine with ·OH and suggest a biochemical basis for the understanding of the reported anticarcinogenic properties of caffeine and related methylxanthine compounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Toxicology


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