The antioxidant effects of chlorophyllin (CHL), a water-soluble analog of the green plant pigment chlorophyll, on different reactive oxygen species (ROS) were investigated by electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy. As a standard, we have used the ability of CHL to scavenge the stable 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical. CHL inhibits the formation of 5,5-dimethyl-1-pyrroline-N-oxide adduct with hydroxyl radical (DMPO-.OH adduct) generated by gamma-radiation in a dose-dependent manner. At a concentration of 1 mM, CHL caused more than 90% inhibition of ESR signal intensity of this adduct. However, the results obtained with the Fenton reaction were different. We also found evidence for the inhibition of 1O2-dependent formation of the 2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-piperidine oxide (TEMPO) radical during photosensitization of methylene blue with visible light. CHL was also able to inhibit hydrogen peroxide induced oxidation of phenol red. The rate constant of the reaction of CHL with H2O2 was found to be 2.7 x 10(6) M-1 s-1. In conclusion, CHL has potent antioxidant ability involving scavenging of various physiologically important ROS.