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Concept: Phenols


BACKGROUND: Lignin is often overlooked in the valorization of lignocellulosic biomass, but lignin-based materials and chemicals represent potential value-added products for biorefineries that could significantly improve the economics of a biorefinery. Fluctuating crude oil prices and changing fuel specifications are some of the driving factors to develop new technologies that could be used to convert polymeric lignin into low molecular weight lignin and or monomeric aromatic feedstocks to assist in the displacement of the current products associated with the conversion of a whole barrel of oil. We present an approach to produce these chemicals based on the selective breakdown of lignin during ionic liquid pretreatment. RESULTS: The lignin breakdown products generated are found to be dependent on the starting biomass, and significant levels were generated on dissolution at 160[degree sign]C for 6 hrs. Guaiacol was produced on dissolution of biomass and technical lignins. Vanillin was produced on dissolution of kraft lignin and eucalytpus. Syringol and allyl guaiacol were the major products observed on dissolution of switchgrass and pine, respectively, whereas syringol and allyl syringol were obtained by dissolution of eucalyptus. Furthermore, it was observed that different lignin-derived products could be generated by tuning the process conditions. CONCLUSIONS: We have developed an ionic liquid based process that depolymerizes lignin and converts the low molecular weight lignin fractions into a variety of renewable chemicals from biomass. The generated chemicals (phenols, guaiacols, syringols, eugenol, catechols), their oxidized products (vanillin, vanillic acid, syringaldehyde) and their easily derivatized hydrocarbons (benzene, toluene, xylene, styrene, biphenyls and cyclohexane) already have relatively high market value as commodity and specialty chemicals, green building materials, nylons, and resins.

Concepts: Gasoline, Petroleum, Benzene, Lignin, Phenols, Vanillin, Guaiacol, Eugenol


Cultures from the unicellular green alga Scenedesmus obliquus biodegrade the toxic p-cresol (4-methylphenol) and use it as alternative carbon/energy source. The biodegradation procedure of p-cresol seems to be a two-step process. HPLC analyses indicate that the split of the methyl group (first step) that is possibly converted to methanol (increased methanol concentration in the growth medium), leading, according to our previous work, to changes in the molecular structure and function of the photosynthetic apparatus and therefore to microalgal biomass increase. The second step is the fission of the intermediately produced phenol. A higher p-cresol concentration results in a higher p-cresol biodegradation rate and a lower total p-cresol biodegradability. The first biodegradation step seems to be the most decisive for the effectiveness of the process, because methanol offers energy for the further biodegradation reactions. The absence of LHCII from the Scenedesmus mutant wt-lhc stopped the methanol effect and significantly reduced the p-cresol biodegradation (only 9%). The present contribution deals with an energy distribution between microalgal growth and p-cresol biodegradation, activated by p-cresol concentration. The simultaneous biomass increase with the detoxification of a toxic phenolic compound (p-cresol) could be a significant biotechnological aspect for further applications.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Bacteria, Biodegradation, Phenols, Bioremediation, Microbial biodegradation, Biodegradability prediction


Personal care products are a source of exposure to potentially endocrine disrupting chemicals such as phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and benzophenone-3 (BP-3) for adolescent girls.

Concepts: Xenoestrogen, Cosmetics, Phenols, Endocrine disruptor, Personal care, Paraben, Phenol, Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate


Parabens (p-hydroxybenzoic acid esters), bisphenols, benzophenone-type UV filters, triclosan, and triclocarban are used in a variety of consumer products, including baby teethers. Nevertheless, the exposure of infants to these chemicals through the use of teethers is still unknown. In this study, 59 teethers, encompassing three types, namely solid plastic, gel-filled, and water-filled (most labeled “bisphenol A-free”), were collected from the U.S. market and analyzed for 26 potential endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) from intact surfaces through migration/leaching tests performed with Milli-Q water and methanol. The total amount of the sum of six parent parabens (Σ6 Parabens) leached from teethers ranged from 2.0 to 1990 ng, whereas that of their four transformation products (Σ4 Parabens) ranged from 0.47 to 839 ng. The total amount of the sum of nine bisphenols (Σ9 bisphenols) and 5 benzophenones (Σ5 benzophenones) leached from teethers ranged from 1.93 to 213 ng and 0.59 to 297 ng, respectively. Triclosan and triclocarban were found in the extracts of teethers at approximately 10-fold less amounts than were bisphenols and benzophenones. Based on the amount leached into Milli-Q water, daily intake of these chemicals was estimated from the use of teethers by infants at 12 months of age. This is the first study to document the occurrence and migration of a wide range EDCs from intact surfaces of baby teethers.

Concepts: Infant, Summation, Infant mortality, Ester, Approximation, Phenols, Endocrine disruptor, Paraben


Profound research has been done on the medicinal value of Brassica nigra (BN) seeds, and the leaves of the plant have been investigated in this study. The methanol extracts of the leaves were subjected to several in vitro studies. The antioxidant activity of methanol extract was demonstrated with a wide range of concentration, 10-500 µg mL(-1), and the antioxidant activity increased with the increase in concentration. Total phenol content was found to be 171.73 ± 5.043 gallic acid equivalents and the total flavonoid content 7.45 ± 0.0945 quercetin equivalents. Further quantification and identification of the compounds were done by HPTLC and GC-MS analyses. The predominant phenolic compounds determined by HPTLC were gallic acid, followed by quercetin, ferulic acid, caffeic acid and rutin. The free radical quenching property of BN leaf extract suggests the presence of bioactive natural compounds.

Concepts: Catechin, Quercetin, Caffeic acid, Resveratrol, Phenols, Ferulic acid, Gallic acid, Vanillin


Melissa officinalis L. (lemon balm) is normally consumed as an infusion and presents therapeutic properties, such as sedative, carminative and antispasmodic, also being included in some pharmaceutical preparations. The phenolic profiles of different samples of lemon balm, prepared as infusions, were evaluated by HPLC-DAD-ESI/MS. The profiles were compared in order to understand the differences between cultivated, in vitro cultured and commercial (bags and granulated) samples. All the samples showed a similar phenolic profile, presenting differences only in the quantities found of each compound. Rosmarinic acid was the most abundant compound, being higher in commercial samples, especially in tea bag sample (55.68mg/g of infusion) and lower in in vitro cultured sample (15.46mg/g). Moreover, dimers, trimers and tetramers of caffeic acid were identified and quantified for the first time in lemon balm. Only one flavonoid, luteolin-3'-O-glucuronide was found in all the samples, ranging from 8.43mg/g in commercial granulate sample to 1.22mg/g in in vitro cultured sample. Overall, cultivated and in vitro cultured samples presented the lowest amounts of phenolic compounds (59.59 and 30.21mg/g, respectively); otherwise, commercial samples showed the highest contents (109.24mg/g for tea bag and 101.03mg/g for granulate sample). The present study shows that infusion of lemon balm can be a source of phenolic compounds, known for their bioactive effects.

Concepts: Tea, Phenols, Essential oil, Lemon, Rosmarinic acid, Aromatherapy, Lemon balm, Melissa


The LC-MS/MS technique was applied to the stability study of several flavonoids and phenolic acids in honey samples during the ultrasonic extraction (USE) and microwave-assisted extraction (MAE). Phenolic compounds from the standard mixture were stable under ultrasounds action with the mean recovery of (90.4%±7.1%), but during microwave-assisted extraction the benzoic acid derivatives and aglycones of flavonoids showed lower recovery (70-80%). In honey matrix, the phenolic acids and the glycosides exhibited the high stability for MAE and USE treatments. However, the recoveries of tested aglycones were below 10%. In the presence of an artificial sugar matrix, flavonols were almost completely degraded after successive treatment under MAE and USE conditions. The obtained results indicated that standard addition method for flavonoids quantification in honey samples should not be recommended. Application of the USE conditions provided higher and/or similar extraction yields for phenolic acids than usually applied shaking with solvent. It also allowed shortening the time required for the whole sample preparation procedure. Phenolic acids and glycosides such as quercetrin, rutin and hesperidin appeared to be stable under such conditions.

Concepts: Catechin, Quercetin, Flavonoid, Glycoside, Phenols, Myricetin, Standard addition, Rutin


The phenolic compounds were extracted from green and yellow leaves, stalks, and seeds of garlic ( Allium ursinum L.). The extracts were analyzed by liquid chromatography-photodiode array detector-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-PDA-ESI-MS/MS). In total, 21 compounds were detected. The flavonol derivatives were identified on the basis of their ultraviolet (UV) spectra and fragmentation patterns in collision-induced dissociation experiments. On the basis of accurate MS and MS/MS data, six compounds were newly identified in bear’s garlic, mainly the kaempferol derivatives. As far as the investigated parts of garlic are concerned, the kaempferol derivatives were found to be predominant in yellow leaves [2362.96 mg/100 g of dry matter (dm)], followed by green leaves (1856.31 mg/100 g of dm). Seeds contained the minimal phenolic compounds, less than stalks. The yellow leaves of A. ursinum possessed a much larger content of compounds acylated with p-coumaric acid than green leaves (1299.97 versus 855.67 mg/100 g of dm, respectively). The stalks and seeds contained much more non-acetylated than acetylated flavonoid glycosides with p-coumaric acid compounds (162.4 versus 62.82 mg/100 g of dm and 105.49 versus 24.18 mg/100 g of dm, respectively).

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, Garlic, Allium, Quercetin, Flavonoid, Phenols, Tandem mass spectrometry, Myricetin


Two hundred twenty-one extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) were extracted from four olive mono-cultivars (Koroneiki, Tsounati, Adramitini, and Throubolia) originated from four divisions of Greece (Peloponnesus, Crete, Zakynthos, and Lesvos) and collected in five harvesting periods (2002-2006 and 2007-2008). All samples were chemically analysed by means of (1)H and (31)P NMR spectroscopy and characterised according to their content in fatty acids, phenolic compounds, diacylglycerols, total free sterols, free acidity, and iodine number. The influence of cultivars on the compositional data of the EVOO samples according to harvest year and geographical origin was examined by means of the forward stepwise canonical discriminant analysis (CDA) and classification binary trees (CBT). The CDA, when the a priori grouping was in accordance with harvest, was high (94%), whereas the classification in terms of groups formed by inclusions of geographical origin was reduced to 85%. Inclusion of both the harvesting year and geographical origin in the CDA analysis resulted in a high classification (90%) for the EVOO samples grouped into the four cultivars. The variables that most satisfactorily classified the Greek olive oils were the phenolics p-coumaric acid, pinoresinol, 1-acetoxypinoresinol, syringaresinol, luteolin, apigenin, and the hydrolysis products of oleuropein expressed collectively by the concentration of total hydroxytyrosol. Amongst the fatty acids, linoleic acid was the predictor with the highest discriminatory power. Finally, the phylogenetic significance of the olive oil compounds as determined by NMR was investigated by estimating their support to monophyly of cultivars.

Concepts: Fatty acid, Phenols, Oleic acid, Linoleic acid, Olive oil, Greece, Hydroxytyrosol, Oleuropein


Three different functional phenol-enriched virgin olive oils (FVOO) were prepared with a phenolic content of 250 (L-FVOO), 500 (M-FVOO), and 750 mg (H-FVOO) total phenols/kg. In a randomised, cross-over study with 12 healthy volunteers, the pharmacokinetics of phenolic biological metabolites was assessed. An increasing linear trend was observed for hydroxytyrosol sulfate, the main phenolic metabolite quantified in plasma, with C(max) values of 1.35, 3.32, and 4.09 μmol/l, and AUC mean values of 263.7, 581.4, and 724.4 μmol/min for L-FVOO, M-FVOO, and H-FVOO, respectively. From our data an acute intake of phenol-enriched olive oils promotes a dose-dependent response of phenol conjugate metabolites in human plasma. Also, we point out for the first time hydroxytyrosol acetate sulfate as a main biological metabolite of hydroxytyrosol from olive oil ingestion.

Concepts: Blood, Phenols, Olive oil, Hydroxytyrosol, Chrism, Oleuropein, Oleocanthal, Olive leaf