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Dendrobium is one of the major tropical orchid cut flowers for trading. The unqualified materials could possibly be used as sources of cosmetic ingredients. In this study, flowers of the Dendrobium hybrids, namely D. Sonia ‘Jo Daeng’ (purple), D. Khoa Sanan (white) and D. Black Pearl (purple black), were ethanolic extracted and determined for anti-melanogenesis activity. The optimum extracting condition based on antioxidant capacity using DPPH assay was sonicated, following with 100 rpm shaking at 50ºC for 6 h. While D. Black Pearl extract exhibited the highest total phenolic and flavonoid contents, D. Sonia ‘Jo Daeng revealed the strongest DPPH scavenging activity. D. Khao Sanan extract had the highest metal chelating activity and anti-mushroom tyrosinase activity. All the extracts showed no cytotoxicity at the highest tested concentration (400 µg/mL). It was observed that D. Khao Sanan treated cells contained the lowest cellular melanin content. This implied that the metal chelating activity of the extracts exhibited some relationship to tyrosinase inhibition activity, which could be a useful screening assay for anti-melanogenesis agents. With relative effectiveness in melanogenesis inhibition to kojic acid, D. Khao Sanan orchid may be an applicable source of natural agent for skin lightening in cosmetic products.
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