An antioxidant is a substance that at low concentrations delays or prevents oxidation of a substrate. Antioxidant compounds act through several chemical mechanisms: hydrogen atom transfer (HAT), single electron transfer (SET), and the ability to chelate transition metals. The importance of antioxidant mechanisms is to understand the biological meaning of antioxidants, their possible uses, their production by organic synthesis or biotechnological methods, or for the standardization of the determination of antioxidant activity. In general, antioxidant molecules can react either by multiple mechanisms or by a predominant mechanism. The chemical structure of the antioxidant substance allows understanding of the antioxidant reaction mechanism. This chapter reviews the in vitro antioxidant reaction mechanisms of organic compounds polyphenols, carotenoids, and vitamins C against free radicals (FR) and prooxidant compounds under diverse conditions, as well as the most commonly used methods to evaluate the antioxidant activity of these compounds according to the mechanism involved in the reaction with free radicals and the methods of in vitro antioxidant evaluation that are used frequently depending on the reaction mechanism of the antioxidant.
Part of the book: Antioxidants