Oil palm vegetation liquor: a new source of phenolic bioactives

Br J Nutr. 2011 Dec;106(11):1655-63. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511002121. Epub 2011 Jun 6.


Waste from agricultural products represents a disposal liability, which needs to be addressed. Palm oil is the most widely traded edible oil globally, and its production generates 85 million tons of aqueous by-products annually. This aqueous stream is rich in phenolic antioxidants, which were investigated for their composition and potential in vitro biological activity. We have identified three isomers of caffeoylshikimic acid as major components of oil palm phenolics (OPP). The 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl assay confirmed potent free radical scavenging activity. To test for possible cardioprotective effects of OPP, we carried out in vitro LDL oxidation studies as well as ex vivo aortic ring and mesenteric vascular bed relaxation measurements. We found that OPP inhibited the Cu-mediated oxidation of human LDL. OPP also promoted vascular relaxation in both isolated aortic rings and perfused mesenteric vascular beds pre-contracted with noradrenaline. To rule out developmental toxicity, we performed teratological studies on rats up to the third generation and did not find any congenital anomalies. Thus, these initial studies suggest that OPP is safe and may have a protective role against free radical damage, LDL oxidation and its attendant negative effects, as well as vascular constriction in mitigating atherosclerosis. Oil palm vegetation liquor thus represents a new source of phenolic bioactives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Aorta / drug effects
  • Aorta / physiology
  • Biphenyl Compounds / chemistry
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / metabolism
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Mesentery / drug effects
  • Mesentery / physiology
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Palm Oil
  • Phenols / analysis*
  • Phenols / toxicity
  • Picrates / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / chemistry*
  • Rats


  • Antioxidants
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Phenols
  • Picrates
  • Plant Oils
  • Palm Oil
  • 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl