Safety aspects of kraft lignin fractions: Discussions on the in chemico antioxidant activity and the induction of oxidative stress on a cell-based in vitro model.
Published on Jul 1, 2021in International Journal of Biological Macromolecules6.953
· DOI :10.1016/J.IJBIOMAC.2021.04.103
Abstract Lignin is a complex phenolic biopolymer present in plant cell walls and a by-product of the cellulose pulping industry. Lignin has functional properties, such as antioxidant activity, that make it a potential natural active ingredient for health-care products. However, not all safety aspects of lignin fractions have been adequately investigated. Herein, we evaluated the antioxidant and genotoxic potential of two hardwood kraft lignins (F3 and F5). The chemical characterization of F3 and F5 demonstrated their thermal stability and the presence of different phenolic units, while the DPPH assay confirmed the antioxidant activity of these lignin fractions. Despite being antioxidants in the DPPH assay, F3 and F5 were capable of generating intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and subsequently causing oxidative DNA damage (Comet assay) in HepG2 cells. The biological relevance of the DPPH assay might be uncertain in some cases; therefore, we suggest combining in chemico tests with biological system-based tests to determine efficacy and safety levels of lignins and define appropriate applications of lignins for consumer products. Moreover, kraft lignins obtained by acid precipitation may pose risks to human health; however, as genotoxicity is not the sole endpoint of toxicity required in hazard assessments, additional toxicological evaluations are needed.