This paper proposes an alternative analytical spectrophotometric method for the total polyphenol quantification in the aqueous extract of plants. When these extracts are added to solutions of Fe(III), in presence of 1,10-phenanthroline, the absorbance values at 551 nm (A511nm) due to the complexes formed are proportional to the total polyphenol concentration expressed as pyrogallic acid (PA). A typical calibration graph of A511nm values vs. PA is linear from 0.16 to 0.64 mg L-1 (r = 0.994, n = 6) with a limit of detection 0.041 mg L-1. The results of the polyphenol content of the aqueous extracts of twenty medicinal Brazilian plants obtained with the proposed method were compared with values using the Folin-Ciocalteu reagent. A paired t-test revealed no statistically significant difference for the species analyzed. The total antioxidant capacity of the same twenty extracts was determined based on the scavenging of stable radical DPPH.
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