The antioxidant effects of manganese and other transition metals were studied as the inhibition of microsomal lipid peroxidation and crocin bleaching by peroxyl radicals. The peroxyl radical scavenging capacity was measured by competition kinetics analysis. While Zn(II), Ni(II), and Fe(II) were almost completely ineffective, Mn(II) and Co(II) showed a free radical scavenging capacity, exhibiting relative rate constant ratios respectively of 0.513 and 0.287. This indicates that Mn(II) is by far the most active. Therefore, the chain-breaking antioxidant capacity of Mn(II) seems to be related to the rapid quenching of peroxyl radicals according to the reaction R-OO. + Mn(II) + H(+)-->ROOH+Mn(III). The antioxidant mechanism is discussed considering the different reduction potentials of the examined cations.