Effects of Onion Flesh and Peel on Chemical Components, Antioxidant and Anticancer Activities

양파 육질 및 껍질의 화학성분과 항산화 및 항암 활성 비교

  • Jang, Joo-Ri (Division of Marine Environment & Bioscience, Korea Maritime University) ;
  • Lim, Sun-Young (Division of Marine Environment & Bioscience, Korea Maritime University)
  • 장주리 (한국해양대학교 해양환경생명과학부) ;
  • 임선영 (한국해양대학교 해양환경생명과학부)
  • Published : 2009.11.30


In order to determine chemical components of onion flesh and peel, general nutrients, vitamin C, and total flavonoids were measured. Onion peel showed less moisture (14.3%) and no vitamin C compared to onion flesh. Onion peel contained more amounts of total flavonoids compared to onion flesh. In addition, the inhibitory effects of solvent extracts from onion flesh and peel on $H_2O_$-induced oxidative stress and growth of cancer cell lines (AGS human gastric adenocarcinoma and HT-29 human colon cancer cells) were investigated. Acetone with methylene chloride (A+M) and methanol (MeOH) extracts from onion flesh and peel appeared to significantly reduce the levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) (p<0.05) and a greater antioxidant effect was observed in onion peel. Among fractions, 85% aq. methanol showed a higher protective activity against oxidative stress in both flesh and peel and there was no effect in the water and hexane fractions. The growth of cancer cells exposed to medium containing extracts and fractions from onion flesh and peel was inhibited dose-dependently. The growth of AGS was inhibited more in both flesh and peel compared to HT-29, and onion peel was more effective than onion flesh. Among fractions, 85% aq. methanol showed the greatest effect on growth inhibition in both flesh and peel. $IC_{50}$ values of 85% aq. methanol fraction from onion flesh and peel on AGS were 0.04 and 0.03 mg/ml, respectively, while those on HT-29 were 0.23 and 0.04 mg/ml. From our results, 85% aq. methanol fraction had an inhibitory effect against oxidative stress and growth of cancer cells, suggesting that it may contain biological active compounds.


  1. AOAC International. 2005. Official methods of anlysis of AOAC International 18th ed. AOAC International
  2. Bakhsh, R. and S. Khan. 1990. Influence of onion (Allium cepa) and chaunga (Caraluma tubercula) on serum cholesterol, triglycerides, total lipids in human subject. Sarhad J. Agric. 6, 425-428
  3. Bang, H. A. and J. S. Cho. 1998. Antioxidant effects on various solvent extracts from onion peel and onion flesh. J. Kor. Diet. Assoc. 4, 14-19
  4. Bilyk, A., P. I. Cooper, and G. M. Sapers. 1984. Varietal differences in distribution of quercetin and kaempferol in onion (Allium cepa 1.) tissue. J. Agric. Food Chem. 32, 274-280
  5. Dawa, F. and P. K. Joseph. 1989. Toxic effects of excess onion extract in rats. J. Food Sci. Technol. 26, 171-172
  6. Denizot, F. and R. Lang. 1986. Rapid colorimetric assay for cell growth and survival modifications to the tetrazolium dye procedure giving improved sensitivity and reliablity. J. Immunol. Methods 89, 271-277
  7. Dorant, E., P. A. van den Brandt, and R. A. Goldbohm. 1994. A prospective cohort study on Allium vegetable consumption, Netherlands. Cancer Res. 54, 6148-6153
  8. Dorsch, W. and H. Wagner. 1991. New antiasthmatic drugs of plant origin. Immunol. 14, 55-62
  9. FIT Research Center and Mokpo National University. 1997. International Symposium on the Utilization and Processing of Onions. pp. 121
  10. Hughes, B. G. and L. D. Lawson. 1991. Antimicrobial effects of Allium sativum L., Allium ampelaprasum L. and Allium cepa L. Phytother. Res. USA 5, 154-158
  11. Jang, J. R., K. K. Kim, and S. Y. Lim. 2008. Anticancer and antioxidant effects of solvent extracts from dried onion with different drying methods. J. Life Sci. 18, 1271-1277
  12. Joo, S. T., J. I. Hur, J. R. Lee, D. H. Kim, Y. R. Ha, and G. B. Park. 1991. Influence of dietary onion peel on lipid oxidation, blood characteristics and antimutagenicity of pork during storage. Kor. J. Anim. Sci. 41, 671-678
  13. Jurdi-Haldeman, D., J. H. MacNeil, and D. M. Yared. 1987.Antioxidant activity of onion and garlic juices in stored cooked ground lamb. J. Food Prot. 50, 411-417
  14. Kendler, B. S. 1987. Garlic (Allium sativum) and onion (Allium cepa): a review of their relationship to cardiovascular disease. Prevo Med. 16, 670-685
  15. Kim, S. K. and M. K. Kim. 2004. Effect of dried powders or ethanol extracts of onion flesh and peel on lipid metabolism, antioxidative and antithrombogenic capacities in 16-month-old rats. Kor. J. Nutr. 37, 623-632
  16. Kim, S. O. and M. Y Lee. 2001. Effect of ethylacetate fraction of onion on lipid metabolism in high cholesterol fed rats. J. Kor. Soc. Food Sci. Nutr. 30, 673-678
  17. LeBel, C. P., H. Ischiropoulos, and S. C. Bondy. 1992. Evaluation of the probe 2', 7' -Dichlorofluorescin as an indicator of reactive oxygen species formation and oxidative stress. Chem. Res. Toxicol. 5, 227-231
  18. Lee, C. J., H. D. Kim, E. H. Choung, J. K. Suh, C. W. Park, and J. K. Ha. 2000. Reduction effect of carcinogen induced mouse epidermal and forestomach carcinogenesis by the extract of oinon wastes. J. Kor. Soc. Food Sci. Nutr. 29, 525-530
  19. Makheja, A. N., J. Y. Vanderhoek and J. M. Bailley. Effects of onion (Allium cepa) extract on platelet aggregation and thromboxane synthesis. Prostaglandins Med. USA 2, 413-424
  20. Park, P. S., B. R. Lee, and M. Y. Lee. 1991. Effects of onion diet on carbon tetrachloride toxicity of rats. J. Kor. Food Nutr. 20, 121-125
  21. Park, J. and M. K. Kim. 1991. Effects of onion flesh or peel feeding on antioxidantive capacity in 16-month-old rats high iron diet. Kor. J. Food Culture 20, 721-730
  22. Ra, K. S., H. J. Suh, S. H. Chung, and J. Y. Son. 1997. Antioxidant activity of solvent extract from onion skin. Kor. J. Food Sci. Technol. 29, 595-600
  23. Ra, K. S., S. H. Chung, H. J. Suh, J. Y. Son, and H. K. Lee. 1998. Inhibitor of xanthine oxidase by flavonol from onion skin. Kor. J. Food Sci. Technol. 30, 697-701
  24. Rhim, J. S. 1993. Onion and health, International Culture Publishing Co., Korea. pp. 35-45
  25. Sankaranrayanan, R, C. Varghese, S. W. Duffy, G. Padmakumary, and .N. E. Day. A case-control study of diet and lung cancer in Keraka, South India. Int. J. Cancer 75, 1766-1777
  26. Sheela, C. G., K. Kumud, and K. T. Augusti. 1995. Antidiabetic effects of onion and garlic sulfoxide amino acids in rats. Planta. Med. 61, 356-357
  27. Sheo, H. J., H. J. Lim, and D. L. Jung. 1993. Effect of onion juice on toxicity of lead in rat. J. Kor. Soc. Food Nutr. 22, 138-143
  28. Shon, M. Y., S. D. Choi, G. G. Kahng, S. H. Nam, and N. J. Sung. 2004. Antimutagenic, antioxidant and free radical scavenging activity of ethyl acetate extracts from white, yellow and red onions. Food Chem. Toxicol. 42, 659-666
  29. Sklan, D., Y. N. Bermer, and H. Rabinowitch. 1992. The effect of dietary onion and garlic on hepatic lipid concentrations and activity of antioxidative enzymes in chicks. J. Nutr. Biochem. 3, 322-325
  30. Srivastava, K. C. 1986. Onion exerts antiaggregatory effects by altering arachidonic acid metabolism in platelets. Prostaglandins Leukot. Med. 24, 43-50
  31. Vallls, F., M. T. Sancho, M. A. Ferrandez-Muino, S. AlonsoTorre, and M. A. Checa. 2002. High-pressure liquid chromatographic determination of ascorbic acid in cooked sausages. J. Food Prot. 65, 1771-1774
  32. Woo, H. S., B. J. An, J. H. Bae, S. Kim, H. J. Choi, H. S. Han, and C. Choi. 2003. Effect of biologically active fractions from onion on physiological activity and lipid metabolism. J. Kor. Soc. Food Sci. Nutr. 32, 119-123

Cited by

  1. The Hypolipidemic Effect of Allium Hookeri in Rats Fed with a High Fat Diet vol.27, pp.1, 2016,
  2. Effects of Onion Peel Water Extract on the Blood Lipid Profiles in Mice Fed a High-Fat Diet vol.22, pp.3, 2014,
  3. Antibacterial Activity of Quercetin and trans-Chalcone for Application in Contact Lens Multipurpose Solution vol.21, pp.4, 2016,
  4. Investigation of Hazards from Onions and Their Cultivation Areas to Establish a Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Model vol.45, pp.6, 2013,
  5. Protective Effect of Onion Wine on Alcoholic Fatty Liver in Rats vol.45, pp.4, 2016,
  6. Comparison of Physicochemical and Functional properties of Soymilk with Addition of Onion vol.30, pp.1, 2015,
  7. Cytotoxic and anti-inflammatory effects of onion peel extract on lipopolysaccharide stimulated human colon carcinoma cells vol.62, 2013,
  8. Assessment of red onion on antioxidant activity in rat vol.50, pp.11, 2012,
  9. Effects of Onion Peel Extracts on Blood Circulation in Male Smokers vol.39, pp.12, 2010,
  10. Antioxidant activity and PC12 cell protective effect of onion flesh and peel(Allium cepa L.) fraction on oxidative stress vol.49, pp.2, 2015,
  11. Quality Study on Determining the Optimal Addition Rate of Onion Extract on Infant Rice Porridge vol.34, pp.4, 2018,
  12. Total Phenolic Content and DPPH Radical Scavenging Activity of Subcritical Water Extract of Onion, and Its Effect on Alcohol Dehydrogenase Activity vol.52, pp.1, 2018,