Reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as superoxide anion, hydroxyl ((OH)-O-center dot), peroxyl, and alkoxyl radicals may attack biological macromolecules giving rise to oxidative stress-originated diseases. Since (OH)-O-center dot is very short-lived, secondary products resulting from (OH)-O-center dot attack to various probes are measured. Although the measurement of aromatic hydroxylation with HPLC/electrochemical detection is more specific than the low-yield TBARS test, it requires sophisticated instrumentation. As a more convenient and less costly alternative, we used p-aminobenzoate, 2,4- and 3,5-dimethoxybenzoate probes for detecting hydroxyl radicals generated from an equivalent mixture of Fe(II) + EDTA with hydrogen peroxide. The produced hydroxyl radicals attacked both the probe and the water-soluble antioxidants in 37 degrees C incubated solutions for 2 h. The CUPRAC (i.e., our original method for total antioxidant capacity assay) absorbance of the ethylacetate extract due to the reduction of Cu(II)-neocuproine reagent by the hydroxylated probe decreased in the presence of (OH)-O-center dot scavengers, the difference being proportional to the scavenging ability of the tested compound. A rate constant for the reaction of the scavenger with hydroxyl radical can be deduced from the inhibition of color formation. The second-order rate constants of the scavengers were determined with competition kinetics by means of a linear plot of A(0)/A as a function of C-scavenger/C-probe, where A(0) and A are the CUPRAC absorbances of the system in the absence and presence of scavenger, respectively, and C is the molar concentration of relevant species. The 2,4- and 3,5-dimethoxybenzoates were the best probes in terms of linearity and sensitivity. Iodide, metabisulfite, hexacyanoferrate(IT), thiourea, formate, and dimethyl sulfoxide were shown by the modified CUPRAC assay to be more effective scavengers than mannitol, glucose, lysine, and simple alcohols, as in the TBARS assay. The developed method is less lengthy, more specific, and of a higher yield than the classical TBARS assay. The hydroxyl radical scavenging rate constants of ascorbic acid, formate, and hexacyanoferrate(II) that caused interference in other assays could be easily found with the proposed procedure. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.