The antioxidative substances contained in cacao liquor, which is one of the major ingredients of chocolate, were separated by column chromatography and high-performance liquid chromatography. Three major compounds were purified and two of them were identified by 1H, 13C NMR and mass spectra as (-)-epicatechin (EC) and (+)-catechin (CA). Their antioxidative activity was measured by monitoring the peroxide value of linoleic acid and the thiobarbituric acid-reactive substance values of erythrocyte ghost membranes and microsomes. EC and CA had strong antioxidative effects in all three methods, but one unidentified peak was found to be less effective. Additionally, we analyzed the polyphenol concentration of cacao liquor extractions produced in several countries. The total polyphenol concentration was 7.0 to 13.0%, catechin concentration was 0.31 to 0.49%, and epicatechin concentration was 0.35 to 1.68% in the extractions. It is believed that chocolate is stable against oxidative deterioration on account of the presence of these polyphenolic compounds, and it is also expected to have a protective role against lipid peroxidation in living systems.
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