Food Bioactive Molecules

Research Themes

Chemistry of naturally occurring polyphenolic compounds. Polyphenolic compounds are ubiquitous natural products with diverse structural motifs and chemical / biological activity. We explore the following aspects of polyphenolics:


Antioxidant activity as scavengers of biologically relevant radicals such as peroxyl radical, hydroxyl radical, and superoxide anion.

Prooxidant activity of polyphenolic compounds in generating free radicals under physiological conditions and their toxicological effects on DNA oxidative damage.

Methodology development for synthesis of polyphenolic derivatives by utilization of agricultural wastes as renewable sources.

Transition metal complexes of polyphenolic derivatives as catalysts

Kinetics of antioxidant reactions in model systems.

Development of model systems to study the synergistic effect of antioxidants.

Molecular modelling of antioxidant reactions.

Isolation and identification of antioxidant compounds.

Novel fluorescent probes in sensing of reactive oxygen species of biological interests.


Functional foods incorporated with health promoting ingredients such as polyphenolic compounds derived from tropical plants and traditional Chinese medicine.


Chemistry of Maillard reaction in foods and model system. The following aspect of the reaction is explored:


Kinetics of Maillard reaction in foods and model systems.

Formation of acrylamide in various foods and the elimination of acrylamide by probiotics.

Formation of antioxidants in foods and model systems.

Molecular modeling of Maillard reactions.

Analysis of reactants and products formed due to the Maillard reactions.

Current research projects include:

Novel fluorescent probes for ultrasensitive quantification of free radicals of relevancy to food and biological systems.

Development of the first antioxidant database for tropical fruits and vegetables commonly consumed in Singapore

Synthesis of polyphenolic derivatives as potent transition metal chelators for superoxide dismutase mimetic activity.

Functional food ingredient enriched traditional food product development

Isolation of antioxidants from tropical plants.

Kinetic studies of natural occurring antioxidants isolated from tropical plants.

Computational and experimental studies of the reaction between gallate derivatives and DPPH or CPZ radicals.

Kinetics and products formed in the reaction between glyceraldehyde and butylamine.

Uptake rate of acrylamide by probiotic organisms.

Group Members

Dr. Huang Dejian (PI)
Dr. Leong Lai Peng (PI)

Chen Qimin
Jing Linzhi
Lin Yi
Restituto T. Tocmo
Saarangan Krishnakumar
Song Zhixuan
Toh Zhi Siang
Yang Xin
Yu Danyang

Ex members of this group

Dr. Chen Wei
Dr. Feng Shengbao
Dr. Fu Caili
Dr. Jiang Bin
Dr. Lilia Bruno
Dr. Liu Ting TIng
Dr. Liu Zhongwei
Dr. Quek Yi Ling
Dr. Rakesh Ganguly
Dr. Song Haipeng
Dr. Sun Cui Lian
Dr. Viduranga Yashasvi Waisundara
Dr. Wang Hongyu
Dr. Wang Suhua
Dr. Wong Ik Chian
Dr. Wong Shen Siung
Dr. Wu Ziyun
Dr. Yan Yan
Ece Kilic
Lu Xiaoxun
Mia Isabelle
Seyedeh Fatemah Seyed Reihani
Shang Jiayi
Xu Jia


The common instruments in the FST Programme and Department of Chemistry are fully accessible to the group members. For details, please refer to Facilities page of this website and the Department of Chemistry website.

Specific instruments and equipments for the group include:

Buchi Flash Chromatography System
Shimadzu and Waters HPLC System
High throughput liquid handling system
Bio-tek Synergy™ microplate fluorescence reader
Vacuum lines
Biologic Stopped-Flow system

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Selected Publications

Loo, A. E. K.; Huang, D. Assay-guided fractionation study of ɑ-amylase inhibitors from Garcinia mangostana pericarp. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2007, 55, 9805-9810.

Feng, S.; Saw, C. L.; Lee, Y. K.; Huang, D. Fungal-stressed germination of black soybeans leads to generation of oxooctadecadienoic acids in addition to glyceollins. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2007, 55, 8598-8595.

Fu, C., Loo, A.E.K., Chia, F.P.P., Huang, D. Oligomeric proanthocyanidins from mangosteen pericarps, J. Agric. Food Chem. 2007, 55, 7689-7694.

Hay, K. X.; Waisundara, V. Y.; Zong, Y.; Han, M-Y.; Huang. D. CdSe nanocrystals as peroxide scavengers: a new approach to highly sensitive quantification of lipid hydroperoxides, Small, 2007, 3, 290-293.

Fan YP, Leong LP, Bettens RPA. The conformers of hydroxyacetaldehyde Journal of Physical Chemistry A. 2007, 111(23) 5081-5085.

Ou, B and Huang D. Fluorescent approach to quantitation of reactive oxygen species in mainstream cigarette smoke. Anal.Chem., 2006. 78, 3097- 3103.

Huang, D, Renkema, K. B.; Caulton K. G., Cleavage of F-C(sp2) bonds by MHR(CO) (PtBu2Me)2 (M=Os and Ru; R = H, CH3 or Aryl): product dependence on M and R. Polyhedron, 2006, 25, 459-468.

Sun CL, Leong LP, Barlow PJ, Chan SH, Bloodworth BC. Single laboratory validation of a method for the determination of Bisphenol A, Bisphenol A diglycidyl ether and its derivatives in canned foods by reversed-phase liquid chromatography. Journal of Chromatography A. 2006, 1129(1), 145-148.

Wong SP, Leong LP, Koh JHW. Antioxidant activities of aqueous extracts of selected plants. Food Chemistry. 2006, 99(4), 775-783

Thavasi V, Leong LP, Bettens RPA. Investigation of the influence of hydroxy groups on the radical scavenging ability of polyphenols. Journal of Physical Chemistry A. 2006, 110(14), 4918-4923

Huang, D., Ou, B.; Prior, P. R. The Chemistry behind antioxidant assays (Review) J. Agri. Food Chem. 2005 (53), 1841-1856.

Shui GH, Leong LP. Analysis of polyphenolic antioxidants in star fruit using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry Journal of Chromatography A. 2004, 1002 (1-2), 67-75.

Ou, B.; Huang, D. Hampsch-Woodill, M. Flanagan, J. A. When East meets West: the relationship between yin/yang and antioxidation/oxidation FASEB J. 2003 17(2), 127-129.

Shui GH, Leong LP. Separation and determination of organic acids and phenolic compounds in fruit juices and drinks by high-performance liquid chromatography. Journal of Chromatography A. 2002, 977(1), 89-96

Leong LP, Shui G. An investigation of antioxidant capacity of fruits in Singapore markets. Food Chemistry. 2002, 76(1) 69-75

Dejian Huang, Patrick R. Koren, Kirsten Folting, Ernest R. Davidson, and Kenneth G. Caulton; Facile and reversible cleavage of C-F bonds. contrasting thermodynamic selectivity for Ru-CF2H vs F-Os=CFH, J. Am. Chem. Soc.; 2000; 122(37); 8916-8931.