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Molecular Structure and Antioxidant Properties of Delphinidin

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journal contribution
posted on 23.10.2008, 00:00 by Laura Estévez, Ricardo A. Mosquera
Density functional theory calculations were performed to evaluate the antioxidant activity of delphinidin, taking into account its acid/base equilibrium. The conformational behavior of both the isolated and the aqueous solvation species (simulated with the polarizable continuum model) were analyzed at the B3LYP/6-31++G(d,p) level, considering the cationic, neutral, and anionic forms, the latter two forms consisting of diverse tautomers. The analysis of their electron density distributions, using the quantum theory of atoms in molecules, reveals several facts that are not in line with their usual Lewis structures. The prototropic preferences observed in the gas phase and in solution are similar. Thus, in both phases, most stable tautomer of neutral delphinidin is obtained by deprotonating the hydroxyl at C4′, and the most stable tautomer of the anion is obtained by deprotonating the hydroxyls at C4′ and C5. All the planar conformers obtained display an intramolecular hydrogen bond (IHB) between O3 and H6′. Furthermore, the most stable tautomers of the neutral and anionic forms display two IHBs between O4′ and H3′ and H5′. To obtain ionization potentials (IPs) and homolytic O−H bond dissociation enthalpies (BDEs), the corresponding radical species were optimized at the UB3LYP level. Heterolytic O−H bond dissociation enthalpies (proton dissociation enthalpies, PDEs) were also computed. The expected important antioxidant activity can be justified from these results. IP, O−H BDE, and O−H PDE values suggest that one-step H atom transfer rather than sequential proton loss−electron transfer or electron transfer−proton transfer would be the most favored mechanisms for explaining the antioxidant activity of delphinidin in nonpolar solvents as well as in aqueous solution.