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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 162750, 16 pages
Review Article

Chemistry and Biological Activities of Flavonoids: An Overview

Department of Biochemistry, University of Allahabad, Allahabad 211002, India

Received 24 August 2013; Accepted 7 October 2013

Academic Editors: K. P. Lu and J. Sastre

Copyright © 2013 Shashank Kumar and Abhay K. Pandey. 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.


There has been increasing interest in the research on flavonoids from plant sources because of their versatile health benefits reported in various epidemiological studies. Since flavonoids are directly associated with human dietary ingredients and health, there is need to evaluate structure and function relationship. The bioavailability, metabolism, and biological activity of flavonoids depend upon the configuration, total number of hydroxyl groups, and substitution of functional groups about their nuclear structure. Fruits and vegetables are the main dietary sources of flavonoids for humans, along with tea and wine. Most recent researches have focused on the health aspects of flavonoids for humans. Many flavonoids are shown to have antioxidative activity, free radical scavenging capacity, coronary heart disease prevention, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer activities, while some flavonoids exhibit potential antiviral activities. In plant systems, flavonoids help in combating oxidative stress and act as growth regulators. For pharmaceutical purposes cost-effective bulk production of different types of flavonoids has been made possible with the help of microbial biotechnology. This review highlights the structural features of flavonoids, their beneficial roles in human health, and significance in plants as well as their microbial production.