The Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) was developed to quantify the antioxidant capacity of phytonutrients found in food. Brunswick Labs further developed this with the release of ORAC5.0, a comprehensive suite of assays for five reactive oxygen species - peroxyl, hydroxyl, peroxynitrite, superoxide anion, and singlet oxygen.
The Cellular Antioxidant Assay (CAA) moved the ORAC method from the test tube to the pre-clinical stage, and describes the amount of a natural product that can be absorbed by human cells as well as its antioxidant effectiveness within the cells.
‘The first data of its kind’
Commenting on the importance of the database to industry and academia, Jin Ji, PhD, Chief Technology Officer for Brunswick Labs, said that it allows visitors to investigate the performance of a range of samples against five primary reactive species (commonly referred to as radicals) for compounds, extracts, freeze-dried materials, and whole foods and beverages.
“By including data on performance against the complete panel of radicals, we open up new dimensions of analysis and understanding about substances to popular review.”
Dr Ji explained that the company developed its panel of ORAC-based assays over the course of a decade. ORAC5.0, the panel of assays using five primary radicals, has been available commercially since 2010 and has started to gain popularity in industry.
“BL has worked to develop an internal database across all five radical assays as a complement to existing reference data for the original ORAC peroxyl assay. This database represents the first data of its kind. We will continue to add to it, and expand the range of samples available for review and comparison.”
The USDA Database
The new database fills the void left by the removal of USDA ORAC database twelve months ago, a move that was criticized by industry stakeholders. The USDA cited two main reasons for the removal of the ORAC Database:
- The values indicating antioxidant capacity have no relevance to the effects of specific bioactive compounds, including polyphenols on human health.
- ORAC values are routinely misused by food and dietary supplement manufacturing companies to promote their products and by consumers to guide their food and dietary supplement choices.
“The USDA database was comprised of data for the ORAC peroxyl assay only,” explained Dr Ji. ‘While our samples are different, the ORAC peroxyl (hydrophilic and lipophilic) method used to produce the ORAC peroxyl data in our database is the same.
“For a growing number of samples, we are able to add data for performance against the additional radicals as well.”