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Nonthermal plasma is a promising technology to improve the safety and to extend the shelf-life of various minimally processed foods. However, research on plasma-induced systemic degradation related to changes in chemical structure and biological activity is still very limited. In this study, the enhancement of biological activity and the mechanism of degradation of the most common type of flavonol, quercetin, induced by a dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma were investigated. Quercetin is dissolved in methanol and exposed to nonthermal DBD plasma for 5, 10, 20, and 30 min. The quercetin treated with the plasma for 20 min showed rapidly increased α-glucosidase inhibitory and radical scavenging activities compared to those of parent quercetin. The structures of the degradation products 1-3 from the quercetin treated with the plasma for 20 min were isolated and characterized by interpretation of their spectroscopic data. Among the generated products, (±)-alphitonin (1) exhibited significantly improved antidiabetic and antioxidant properties compared to those of the parent quercetin. The antidiabetic and antioxidant properties were measured by α-glucosidase inhibition and 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl radical scavenging assays. These results suggested that structural changes in quercetin induced by DBD plasma might be attributable to improving the biological activity.


Tae Hoon Kim, Jaemin Lee, Hyun-Joo Kim, Cheorun Jo. Plasma-Induced Degradation of Quercetin Associated with the Enhancement of Biological Activities. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. 2017 Aug 16;65(32):6929-6935

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PMID: 28745879

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