The ability of cyclodextrins to enhance the water solubility of lipophilic compounds is used to modify the water-based Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) method to measure antioxidant activity in vitro. However, the use of these solubility enhancers may alter fluorescent readings, which has led to contradictory results being described in the literature. The low specificity of these oligosaccharides and their controlled release effect can result in cyclodextrins forming inclusion complexes with other reagents in the assay, changing the kinetics. In this study, the cause of cyclodextrins’ interference in the ORAC method is evaluated through a physicochemical and computational approach. Cyclodextrins showed a clear increase in the fluorescent signal both in the presence and absence of the antioxidant oxyresveratrol, the precise effect being dependent on the type and concentration of cyclodextrin. Although the glucidic nature of cyclodextrins could play a minimal role in this effect, it seems that the main cause was the encapsulation of other substrates in the reaction, fluorescein and AAPH.
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