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Moringa oleifera, a plant with a wide range of medicinal, nutritional and economic benefits was examined for phytochemicals and evaluated for antioxidant activities. Phytochemical tests, total phenol and flavonoid contents were determined using standard procedures. Antioxidant activities of the methanol extracts and fractions were evaluated using the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picryl hydrazyl radical scavenging assay. The leaf and seed contained alkaloids, saponins, phenols and flavonoids. The ethyl acetate fraction of the leaf contained significantly (P < 0.05) more phenol (78.67 ± 3.40 mgGAE/g Extract) than the crude extract and petroleum ether fraction with total phenolic content of 58.00 ± 1.00 and 26.17 ± 3.88 mg GAE/g Extract respectively while the seed extract had a total phenol content of 17.67 ± 2.02 mg GAE/g Extract. The petroleum ether fraction of the leaf was found to contain significantly (P < 0.05) more flavonoid (161.33 ± 19.05 mgQE/g Extract) than the other samples (31.73 ± 2.66, 30.20 ± 10.14 and 20.73 ± 4.16 mgQE/g Extract for the crude leaf extract, leaf petroleum ether fraction and seed extract respectively). The leaf and seed extracts exhibited remarkable and concentration-dependent increase in radical scavenging activities with IC50 values ranging from 5.72-42.56 μg/mL. The results therefore support the use of Moringa oleifera as a natural plant antioxidant by preventing free radical damage.
Keywords: Moringa oleifera; Antioxidant; Phytochemical, Free radical