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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 251754, 11 pages
Review Article

Hydroxycinnamic Acid Antioxidants: An Electrochemical Overview

1CIQ/Departamento de Química e Bioquímica, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade do Porto, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal
2Departamento de Engenharia Química, Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto (ISEP), Instituto Politécnico do Porto, 4200-072 Porto, Portugal

Received 30 April 2013; Accepted 18 June 2013

Academic Editor: Kent M. Reed

Copyright © 2013 José Teixeira et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hydroxycinnamic acids (such as ferulic, caffeic, sinapic, and p-coumaric acids) are a group of compounds highly abundant in food that may account for about one-third of the phenolic compounds in our diet. Hydroxycinnamic acids have gained an increasing interest in health because they are known to be potent antioxidants. These compounds have been described as chain-breaking antioxidants acting through radical scavenging activity, that is related to their hydrogen or electron donating capacity and to the ability to delocalize/stabilize the resulting phenoxyl radical within their structure. The free radical scavenger ability of antioxidants can be predicted from standard one-electron potentials. Thus, voltammetric methods have often been applied to characterize a diversity of natural and synthetic antioxidants essentially to get an insight into their mechanism and also as an important tool for the rational design of new and potent antioxidants. The structure-property-activity relationships (SPARs) correlations already established for this type of compounds suggest that redox potentials could be considered a good measure of antioxidant activity and an accurate guideline on the drug discovery and development process. Due to its magnitude in the antioxidant field, the electrochemistry of hydroxycinnamic acid-based antioxidants is reviewed highlighting the structure-property-activity relationships (SPARs) obtained so far.