The essential oil extracted from the black Piper nigrum L. (BPEO) was analyzed for antioxidant, hepatoprotective and antifungal activities. BPEO is rich in total phenolics, total flavonoids and proanthocyanidins, and showed good free radicals and lipid peroxidation scavenging capacities. In a CCl4-induced liver injury mice model, the BPEO treated groups showed increases in the catalase (CAT), glutathione (GSH) and total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD) activities present in the liver and kidney, and reverses the CCl4-elevated total bilirubin (TBIL), glutamate pyruvate transaminase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (AKP) and malondialdehyde (MDA) level, which were confirmed in further analyses of kidney tissue sections. BPEO can effectively inhibit the growth of Aspergillus flavus spoilage fungus in maize. Further analyses indicated that BPEO disrupt the permeability barrier of the cell membrane and lead to mitochondrial dysfunction in A. flavus. Therefore, the current study proved BPEO's potential as hepatoprotective products and natural food preservatives.
Keywords: Antifungal; Antioxidant; Essential oil; Hepatoprotective; Maize storage; Piper nigrum L.
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