Recent epidemiological studies have suggested that the development and progression of several chronic diseases may be initiated or augmented by oxidative stress. Reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species react readily with and can damage nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids. While biological systems are equipped antioxidant defenses to cope with oxidative stress, oxidative damage may still occur when oxidative stress overwhelms antioxidant defenses. This damage, if left unchecked, may lead to a variety of degenerative diseases, including heart disease, Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease and cancer. Several assays have been designed to describe the antioxidant activity of various phytochemicals, vitamins, and other compounds. The ORAC and TOSC assays have emerged as industry standards for measuring antioxidant activity due to their high reliability and sensitivity. Until recently, however, little has been done to assess the relative correlation between these two assays. Furthermore, no assay has been developed to measure changes in antioxidant activities of cells in response to oxidative stress. The current work investigates the correlation between measured antioxidant activities of samples in the both the ORAC and TOSC assays. Recent antioxidant research also focuses on relating chemical structure to antioxidant activity. Previous research in this area has included a broad range of chemical groups, but no study has attempted to formulate a structure-function framework that has applicability to compounds of any group. The current work uses amino acids as a simplest-case model for studying the relationships between chemical structure and antioxidant activity. One particular area of emerging research has centered around comparing organic and conventionally grown food products. The impetus of these investigations lies in claims made by organic supporting groups that these food products are generally more beneficial than their conventional counterparts. Despite the rapid rise in popularity of organic foods, there remains a dearth of research investigating these claims. The current work compares the antioxidant activities of organic and conventionally grown blueberries and apples.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Microbiology and Molecular Biology



Date Submitted


Document Type





antioxidants, cancer, prevention, ORAC, TOSC, amino acid, structure-function, blueberries, apples, organic



Included in

Microbiology Commons