Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 70, Issue 2, pp 207–214 | Cite as

Evaluation of Phenolic Antioxidant Capacity in Grains of Modern and Old Durum Wheat Genotypes by the Novel QUENCHERABTS Approach

  • Maura N. Laus
  • Nilde A. Di Benedetto
  • Rossella Caporizzi
  • Damiana Tozzi
  • Mario Soccio
  • Luigia Giuzio
  • Pasquale De Vita
  • Zina Flagella
  • Donato Pastore
Original Paper


The QUENCHERABTS (QUick, Easy, New, CHEap and Reproducible) approach for antioxidant capacity (AC) determination is based on the direct reaction of 2,2′-azino-bis-(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) radical cation with fine solid food particles. So, it may resemble the antioxidant action in foods or in human gastrointestinal trait. Here, the QUENCHER approach was used to study AC of durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.) grains. Firstly, it was assessed which kind of antioxidants determines QUENCHER response. This has been performed by comparing AC measured by QUENCHERABTS and that measured by classical TEACABTS (Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity) in four different extracts from whole flour of 10 durum wheat varieties containing: lipophilic, hydrophilic, insoluble-bound phenolic (IBP) and free-soluble phenolic (FSP) compounds. QUENCHERABTS data were unrelated to AC of water-extractable antioxidants and weakly correlated (r = 0.405, P < 0.05) to AC of the lipophilic ones; on the contrary, QUENCHERABTS response was mainly related to AC of IBP (r = 0.907, P < 0.001) and to a lesser extent of FSP extracts (r = 0.747, P < 0.001). Consistently, correlation was also found with the phenolic content of IBP and FSP (r = 0.760, P < 0.001 and r = 0.522, P < 0.01, respectively), thus confirming that QUENCHERABTS assay mainly assesses AC due to IBP. So, this assay was used in a first screening study to compare AC of bioactive IBP of thirty-six genotypes/landraces covering a century of cultivation in Italy. Interestingly, no relevant AC difference between modern and old genotypes was found, thus suggesting that a century of plant breeding did not decrease phenol-dependent health potential in durum wheat.


Antioxidant capacity Durum wheat grains Phenolic compounds Old and modern genotypes QUENCHER assay TEAC assay 



2,2′-azino-bis-(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid)


Antioxidant capacity




Dry weight


Free-soluble phenolic


Free-soluble phenolic content




Insoluble-bound phenolic


Insoluble-bound phenolic content




Phenolic content


QUick, Easy, New, CHEap and Reproducible


Total antioxidant capacity


Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity


Total phenolic content



This work was supported by the following research projects: MiPAAF projects “GRANOBIO” and “FRUDUSAL”; MiUR project PON 01_01145 “ISCOCEM”. We thank Dr Carlo Robbe who participated as a student to the present work.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maura N. Laus
    • 1
  • Nilde A. Di Benedetto
    • 1
  • Rossella Caporizzi
    • 1
  • Damiana Tozzi
    • 1
  • Mario Soccio
    • 1
  • Luigia Giuzio
    • 1
  • Pasquale De Vita
    • 2
  • Zina Flagella
    • 1
  • Donato Pastore
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, degli Alimenti e dell’AmbienteUniversità degli Studi di FoggiaFoggiaItaly
  2. 2.Consiglio per la Ricerca e la sperimentazione in Agricoltura - Centro di Ricerca per la CerealicolturaFoggiaItaly

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