Natural product research is an active branch of science, driven by the increased value placed on individual health and well-being. Many naturally-occurring phytochemicals in plants, fruits and vegetables have been reported to exhibit antioxidant and antibacterial activity; often touted as being beneficial for human health. In vitro screening is a common practice in many research laboratories as a means of rapidly assessing these properties. However, the methods used by many are not necessarily optimal; a result of poor standardization, redundant assays and/or outdated methodology. This review primarily aims to give a better understanding in the selection of in vitro assays, with emphasis placed on some common assays such as the total phenolic content assay, free radical scavenging activity, disc-diffusion and broth microdilution. This includes a discussion on the reasons for choosing a particular assay, its strengths and weaknesses, ways to improve the accuracy of results and alternative assays.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.