Supramolecular Aggregates from Vitamin C Derivatives:
Structure and Properties

Pierandrea Lo Nostro
University of Florence - Department of Chemistry
via Gino Capponi, 9
50121 Firenze (Italy)

voice: + 39 55 275-7575
FAX: + 39 55 24.08.65

Received:15 June 1997
Received in revised form: 18 July 1997
Accepted: 18 July 1997
Published: 18 July 1997

Copyright 1997 Internet Journal of Science - Biological Chemistry


Chemical and Biological Properties of Vitamin C
Aggregation of Vitamin C derivatives in water solution
Vitamin C derivatives as antioxidant agents


L-ascorbic acid, or Vitamin C, is a strong and powerful water-soluble antioxidant, that efficiently protects important organic and biological molecules against oxidative degradation.
It works even better in conjunction with other antioxidants, such as vitamin E (tocopherols) and carotenoids, by establishing a peculiar recycling system with a synergic effect, that will be discussed later on.

However, due to its very poor solubility in non-aqueous media, ascorbic acid cannot be used to protect hydrophobic systems such as fats, biomembrane lipids, or other vitamins. It is therefore essential to synthesize lipophilic derivatives that are soluble in hydrophobic phases, produce supramolecular aggregates in water, and hold the same antioxidant properties.

A relevant part of this review is devoted to the explanation of the mechanism involved in the peroxidation of membrane lipids, and to the possible applications of ascorbic acid derivatives as antioxidant for the prevention and therapy of several diseases.


Thanks are due to the Italian Ministry of the University, to the "Consorzio per lo Studio dei Sistemi a Grande Interfase" (CSGI, Florence), and to the European Union for partial financial support.