The high polyunsaturated fatty acid content of oily fish such as mackerel (Scomber scombrus) makes it particularly susceptible to oxidative degradation. We have shown previously the presence of lipoxygenase (LOX), a lipid oxygenase, in mackerel muscle. In the current study, commercially available green tea polyphenols were shown to effectively inhibit the LOX activity of mackerel muscle. EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) was the strongest inhibitor tested with an IC50 (concentration for half maximal inhibition) value of 0.13 nM. All the tea catechins showed a nfived non-competitive type inhibition. In addition, antioxidants such as BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), esculetin, caffeic acid, ascorbic acid, and ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) were effective to varying degrees (IC50 values between 0.02 and >50 mu M) in the inhibition of mackerel muscle LOX. Nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), a classical LOX inhibitor and potassium cyanide (KCN), a heme protein inhibitor were assayed for their inhibitory activities for comparison.