The Morphological Dimension and Antioxidant Composition of Selected Indigenous Flavouring Plants in Bintulu, Sarawak


  • Nurul Aisyah Yusli Department of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia Bintulu Sarawak Campus
  • Noorasmah Saupi Department of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia Bintulu Sarawak Campus; Ethnic Laboratory, Institute of EcoScience Borneo, Universiti Putra Malaysia Bintulu Sarawak Campus
  • Hanisah Kamilah Department of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia Bintulu Sarawak Campus


antioxidant activity, DPPH, FRAP, gallic acid, total phenolic content


The use of plants as food flavourings, commonly known as herbs and spices, serves as natural sources of flavour, altering the taste and aroma of dishes with only a small amount. Beyond flavour, these plants also contribute essential antioxidants crucial for human health by inhibiting free radicals that can lead to various diseases. In Bintulu, Sarawak, Malaysia, locals traditionally consume indigenous flavouring plants primarily for their culinary impact, often overlooking the pharmaceutical value these plants may offer. This study aimed to assess the marketable appearance and antioxidant composition of indigenous food flavouring plants in Bintulu. Bunches of Pangium edule, Premna serratifolia, Pycnarrhena tumefacta, Scorodocarpus borneensis, and Syzygium polyanthum were obtained from the local farmers market and analyzed for morphological dimensions, total phenolic content, free radical scavenging ability (DPPH), and ferric reducing ability (FRAP). The edible portion of the plants ranged from 57.33% to 84.99%, with P. edule exhibiting the largest edible blade. Total phenolic content varied from 343.27 to 3245.67 mg GAE/100 g, with P. serratifolia having the highest value. Premna serratifolia demonstrated the strongest radical scavenging activity, while S. polyanthum exhibited the highest ferric reducing ability. All species exhibited high antioxidant composition (IC50 = 0.10 to 27.6 µg/mL, FRAP = 469.88 to 9272.50 mg TE/100 g), indicating potential medicinal utility. Further studies on anti-nutrients like oxalate and phytate are recommended to complement the obtained data. Additionally, an ethnobotanical study is suggested to document the traditional medicinal uses of these plants alongside their role as flavor enhancers in cooking.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biography

Nurul Aisyah Yusli, Department of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia Bintulu Sarawak Campus




Abuye, C., Urga, K., Knapp, H., Selmar, D., Omwega, A., Imungi, J. & Winterhalter, P. 2003. A compositional study of Moringa stenopetala leaves. East African Medical Journal, 80(5): 247-252. DOI:

Agbugba, I., Okechukwu, F. & Solomon, R. 2011. Challenges and strategies for improving the marketing of indigenous leaf vegetables in Nigeria. Journal of Home Economics Association of Nigeria, 15: 11-20.

Ainul Asyira, S., Noorasmah, S., Sarbini, S. & Muta Harah, Z. 2016. Mineral content of five indigenous leafy vegetables from Bintulu market, Sarawak Malaysia. Journal of Medicinal Herbs and Ethnomedicine, 2: 26-35.

Aryal, S., Baniya, M., Danekhu, K., Kunwar, P., Gurung, R. & Koirala, N. 2019. Total phenolic content, flavonoid content and antioxidant potential of wild vegetables from Western Nepal. Plants, 8: 1-12. DOI:

Asami, D., Hong, Y., Barrett, D. & Mitchell, A. 2003. Comparison of the total phenolic and ascorbic acid content of freeze-driedd and air-dried marionberry, strawberry and grown using conventional, organic and sustainable agricultural practices. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 51(5): 1237-1241. DOI:

Babbar, N., Oberoi, H. & Sandhu, S. 2015. Therapeutic and nutraceutical potential of bioactive compounds extracted from fruit residues. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 55(3): 319-337. DOI:

Bendary, E., Francis, R., Ali, H., Sarwat, M. & El Hady, S. 2013. Antioxidant and structure-activity relationships (SARs) of some phenolic and anilines compounds. Annals of Agricultural Sciences, 58(2): 173-181. DOI:

Benzie, I. & Strain, J. 1996. The ferric reducing ability of plasma (FRAP) a measure of "antioxidant power": the FRAP assay. Analytical Biochemistry, 239(1): 70-76. DOI:

Berrouet, C., Dorilas, N., Rejniak, K. & Tuncer, N. 2020. Comparison of drug inhibitory effects (IC50) in monolayer and spheroid cultures. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, 82(6) 1-18. DOI:

Brand-Williams, W., Cuvelier, M. & Berset, C. 1995. Use of a Free Radical Method to Evaluate Antioxidant. LWT-Food Science and Technology, 28: 25-30. DOI:

Chikkamath, M., Atteri, B., Srivastava, S. & Roy, S. 2012. Factors influencing consumer's behaviour for vegetable purchase. Vegetable Science, 39(1): 35-39.

Chua, I., King, P., Ong, K., Sarbini, S. & Yiu, P. 2015. Influence of light intensity and temperature on antioxidant activity in Premna serratifolia L. Journal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, 15(3): 605-614.

Det, P., Lau, C., Umar, S., Brooke, P., Razili, R., Ismawi, H. & Liew, S. 2013. Edible Wild Plants in Sarawak. Department of Agriculture Sarawak, Kuching.

El Far, M. & Taie, H. 2009. Antioxidant activities, total anthocyanins, phenolics and flavonoids contents of some sweetpotato genotypes under stress of different concentrations of sucrose and sorbitol. Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, 3(4): 3609-3616.

Gülçin, I., Oktay, M., Küfrevioğlu, O.I. & Aslan, A. 2002. Determination of antioxidant activity of lichen Cetraris islandica (L) Ach. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 79(3): 325-329. DOI:

Gupta, S., Lakshmi, A., Manjunath, M. & Prakash, J. 2005. Analysis of nutrient and antinutrient content of underutilized green leafy vegetables. LWT- Food Science and Technology, 38(4): 339-345. DOI:

Halvorsen, B., Holte, K., Myhrstad, M., Barikmo, I., Hvattum, E., Remberg, S.F., Anne-Brit, W., Karin, H., Halvard, B., Frost, A.L., Moskaug, O., David R.Jr., J. & Blomhoff, R. 2002. A systematic screening of total antioxidants in dietary plants. The Journal of Nutrition, 132(3): 461-471. DOI:

Hedges, L. & Lister, C. 2007. Nutritional attributes of herbs, Report Number 1891. New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research Limited, New Zealand.

Henderson, T., Nigam, P. & Owusu-Apenten, R. 2015. A universally calibrated microplate ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assay for foods and applications to Manuka honey. Food Chemistry, 174: 119-123. DOI:

Herrera, T., DeHond, A., Uribarri, J. & del Castillo, M. 2020. Chapter 6: Beneficial Herbs and Spices. In: Nutrition, Fitness, and Mindfulness., J.V. Uribarri (Ed.). Springer Nature, Switzerland. pp. 1-22. DOI:

Jun, M., Jeong, W. & Ho, C. 2006. Health promoting properties of natural flavour substances. Food Science and Biotechnology, 15(3): 329-338.

Kaur, G., Singla, N. & Jain, R. 2018. Nutritional and health attributes of herbs. Chemical Science Review and Letters, 7(25): 250-255.

Kedare, S. & Singh, R. 2011. Genesis and development of DPPH method of antioxidant assay. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 48(4): 412-422. DOI:

Lim, T. 2012. Scorodocarpus borneensis. In: Edible Medicinal and Non-medicinal Plants. T. Lim (Ed.). Springer, Dordrecht. pp. 77-81. DOI:

Lin, D., Xiao, M., Zhao, J., Li, Z., Xing, B., Li, X., Kong, M., Li, L., Zhang, Q., Liu, Y., Chen, H., Qin, W., Wu, H. & Chen, S. 2016. An overview of plant phenolic compounds and their importance in human nutrition and management of type 2 diabetes. Molecules, 21(10): 1-19. DOI:

Lubaina, A., Brijithlal, N. & Murugan, K. 2016. Phytochemical analysis and antioxidant potentiality of Premna serratifolia L.- An aromatic medicinal plant. World Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 5(12): 840-852.

Maharani, R., Fernandes, A., Turjaman, M., Kuspradini, H. & Lukmandaru, G. 2020. Chemical and organoleptic properties of bekai (Pycnarrhena tumefacta Miers) leaves for flavouring agent (bio-vetsin). Indonesian Journal of Forestry Research, 7(2): 121-133. DOI:

Mamta, Misra, K., Dhillon, G., Brar, S. & Verma, M. 2013. Chapter 6: Antioxidant. In: Biotransformation of Waste Biomass into High Value Biochemicals. S. Brar, G. Dhillon & C. Soccol. (Eds.). Springer Science and Business Media, New York. pp. 117-138. DOI:

Namiki. 1990. Antioxidant antimutagens in food. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 29: 273-300. DOI:

Pokorny, J.P. 2007. Are natural antioxidants better and safer than synthetic antioxidants? European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology, 109: 629-649. DOI:

Rajurkar, N. & Hande, S. 2011. Estimation of phytochemical content and antioxidant activity of some selected traditonal Indian medicinal plants. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 73(2): 146-151. DOI:

Rohmah, M., Saragih, B., Amaliah, N., Kristopal, K., Eka Putra, Y. & Rahmadi, A. 2021. Determination of moisture, ash, protein, polyphenolic, flavonoid, and amino acid contents and antioxidant capacity of dried mekai (Pycnarrhena tumefacta Miers.) leaf as potential herbal flavor enhancers. In: Advances in Biological Sciences Research Proceeding. Indonesia, Atlantis Press International B.V. pp. 150-160. DOI:

Ruchiyat. 2013. Analisis fisikokimia dan aktivitas antioksidan dari ekstrak metanol daun salam (Syzygium polyanthum (Wight) Walp.) asal Jawa Barat. Jurnal Ilmiah Farmako Bahari, 4(2): 68-84.

Simamora, A., Santosa, A., Timotius, K., Rahayu, I. 2020. Antioxidant activity, enzyme, inhibition potentials, and phytochemical profiling of Premna serratifolia L. leaf extracts. International Journal of Food Science, 2020(2): 3436940. DOI:

Sirivibulkovit, K., Nouanthavong, S. & Sameenoi, Y. 2018. Paper-based DPPH assay for antioxidant activity analysis. Analytical Sciences, 34(7): 795-800. DOI:

Yusli, N., Saupi, N., Ramaiya, D. & Lirong, Y. 2021. An ethnobotanical study on indigenous food flavourings and aromatic enhancing plants used by the native communities of the central region of Sarawak. Malaysian Applied Biology, 50(3): 105-115. DOI:



How to Cite

Yusli, N. A. ., Saupi, N. ., & Kamilah, H. (2023). The Morphological Dimension and Antioxidant Composition of Selected Indigenous Flavouring Plants in Bintulu, Sarawak. Malaysian Applied Biology, 52(5), 11–18.