Protein-bound carbonyls have been shown to increase with age as well as in numerous diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, adult respiratory syndrome pulmonary fibrosis, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's just to mention a few. The effects of the flavonoids quercetin and genistein were investigated according to their ability to inhibit the oxidation of hemoglobin and myoglobin via the Fenton's pathway. Antioxidative activity of the flavonoids were determined by oxidizing hemoglobin and myoglobin in separate experiments with 50 μM Fe(2+) and 0.01 mM hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) with and without quercetin and/or genistein. The samples were treated singly with either quercetin, genistein, or in combination at concentrations of 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, and 3.5 μM, respectively, dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). Samples were then incubated in a water bath at 37°C for 8, 12, and 24 hr, respectively. Levels of carbonylation were assayed by the protein carbonyl assay and the carbonyl levels quantified and expressed per mg of protein. The results indicate that protein carbonyls for samples treated with quercetin or genistein decreased in a dose-dependent manner compared to the controls. That of quercetin compared to genistein was more efficient in reducing the levels of protein carbonylation in hemoglobin and myoglobin, respectively. The combination of both flavonoids did show a gradual decrease in carbonyl compounds for only hemoglobin for all the doses and times tested. The results indicate that both flavonoids at low doses inhibited carbonylation in both hemoglobin and myoglobin and the inhibition may be attributed to the prevention of protein oxidation.