Two fractions of polysaccharides (MLP-1 and MLP-2) were extracted from the leaves of maca (Lepidium Meyenii Walp.) by water, and purified using DEAE-52 ion exchange resin and sephadex G-200 clumns chromatography. An investigation was carried out for their structural characterization and antioxidant activity in vitro. The results indicated that MLP-1 was mainly composed of ribose, rhamnose, arabinose, xylose, mannose, glucose and galactose, with the molar ratio of 0.12:0.32:1.50:0.32:1.03:1.00:0.93; the MLP-2 was a homopolysaccharide composed of glucose. The molecular weight (Mw) of MLP-1 was 42756Da, and the Mw of MLP-2 was 93541Da. The FT-IR spectra showed the general characteristic absorption peak of maca leaf polysaccharides (MLPs). The evaluation of antioxidant activity revealed that MLP-1 had strong scavenging effects in vitro on hydroxyl, superoxide anion and DPPH radicals, whose EC50 (mg/mL) was 0.44, 0.21, and 0.82, respectively. Both MLP-1 and MLP-2 presented dose-dependently positive effects on the antioxidant-related parameters. The results suggested that the purified MLP-1 displayed better antioxidant capacities than that of MLP-1, which could be explored as potential antioxidant agents for the complementary medicine or functional foods.
Keywords: Antioxidant activity; Characterization; Maca leaves; Polysaccharides.
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