Phenolic compounds, mainly represented by flavonoids, tannins and coumarins, bioactive molecules with various applications, have antioxidant, photoprotective, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and even antitumor properties. The main mechanism of action of phenolic compounds is due to the transfer of electrons to free radicals, which leads to the interruption of oxidative reactions. The flora of the Brazilian caatinga is full of species with high concentrations of these compounds, which are possibilities for researching new pharmaceutical products and functional foods, and may even generate technological and economic impact, contributing directly or indirectly to the development of communities that are inserted in this context. This is extremely important, considering the large amount of ecotoxic residues resulting from the industrial chain, where it is necessary to use methods to reduce this impact on the environment, such as adsorption, oxidation, biotransformation, liquid–liquid partition and hybrid techniques. This shows the need to reuse this waste and even improve production processes in order to make the most of the content of these compounds with varied applications that sometimes end up being underused. This chapter brings some of the main species involved in this context, their contributions to health and possible applications at a technological, industrial and even sustainable level.
Part of the book: Phenolic Compounds