Several Mediterranean and tropical fruits have been analyzed in order to assess their antioxidant activity compared with that of common food additives (butylated hydroxyanisole [BHA], butylated hydroxytoluene [BHT] and propyl gallate). Among Mediterranean fruits, red grape and plum were more effective (P < 0.05) scavengers of peroxyl radicals than BHA, BHT, and propyl gallate. Of the tropical fruits, banana was the most effective scavenger of peroxyl radicals. Mediterranean and tropical fruits showed very good scavenger activity against hydroxy radicals (OH), protecting deoxyribose better than BHA and BHT. The HOCl scavenging ability of Mediterranean fruits tested was, in decreasing order, lemon > plum > apricot > white grape > melon > red grape > mandarin > watermelon > peach > medlar > apple > orange > cherry > strawberry. However, the four varieties of pear were poor scavengers (P < 0.05). Among tropical fruits, the order of efficiency as HOCl scavengers was passion fruit > lime > passiflora > kumquat > avocado > pineapple > physalis > papaya fruit > carambola > mango > banana. All Mediterranean fruits showed an effect on hydrogen peroxide except peach. Tropical fruits also had a strong effect on hydrogen peroxide except avocado, which had no effect. The effect of Mediterranean and tropical fruits on the protection factor of refined olive oil, analyzed by the Rancimat method and compared with common food additives, was clear. Watermelon conferred a significantly (P < 0.05) greater protection than the other Mediterranean fruits. Among tropical fruits, physalis had the most stabilizing effect.

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