Free radical scavengers have attracted attention because they can protect the human body from free radicals, which are known to influence the pathogenesis of many human diseases, including cancer, and also lead to the aging process. Although human beings have antioxidant defenses against oxidative damage, these antioxidants can be inefficient. Further, several
synthetic antioxidants are commonly used in processed foods, and there has been growing concern about their safety and toxicity in long-term use. Hence, the research on natural antioxidant sources has attracted much attention. There have been reports on the extraction and identification of antioxidant components from peels, hulls, and seed coats, which are usually discarded as the by-products of agro-industries (Amin & Mukhrizah, 2006). Phenolic compounds, especially tannins, present in these fractions are known to render them anti-oxidative. The tannins located in the seed coats (hulls) are reported to play an important role in the defense system of the seeds, which are exposed to oxidative damage (Troszynska & Balasinska, 2002). Several studies have been conducted to determine and suggest uses of "tannin-rich seed coats," such as those from pea (Duenas et al., 2006), soybean (Takahata et al., 2001), peanut (Yen et al., 2005), and almonds (Chen et al., 2005), as a source of antioxidants. Cashew kernel testa (skin) is reported to contain huge amounts of tannin, and the tannin extracted from cashew kernel testa is used in the leather industry (Nayudamma & Rao, 1967). The testa has also been used as a wholesome poultry feed (Subramanian & Nair, 1969). However, its commercial use has been limited. The objective of this chapter is to provide information on the free radical scavenging activity of cashew kernel testa.
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