Natural antioxidant has received more attention to be part of daily diet. Cocoa beans is one of the main sources of polyphenols especially epicatechin. This study was conducted to investigate the relationship between antioxidant potential and epicatechin content of raw cocoa beans from different countries, namely Malaysia, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Sulawesi (Indonesia). Antioxidant potential was determined using trolox-equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) and ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assays. Reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was used to quantify the amount of epicatechin. The epicatechin content of raw cocoa beans was in the range of 270 - 1235 mg/100 g cocoa beans. Based on the two assays, Sulawesian beans exhibited the highest antioxidant capacity followed by Malaysian, Ghanaian and Cote d’Ivoirian beans for both extracts. Both ethanolic (r = 0.92) and water (r = 0.90) extracts of cocoa beans showed a significant positive and high correlation between epicatechin and TEAC value. Similarly, FRAP assay also showed a positive and high correlation with epicatechin for both ethanolic (r = 0.84) and water (r = 0.79) extracts. Results indicated that antioxidant capacity using two different antioxidant assays exhibited a positive and high correlation with epicatechin content in cocoa beans. Thus, epicatechin content in cocoa beans could be responsible for the antioxidant capacity.
Key words: Epicatechin, cocoa beans, antioxidant activity.
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