The use of high performance liquid chromatography with acidic potassium permanganate chemiluminescence detection to screen for antioxidants in complex plant-derived samples was evaluated in comparison with two conventional post-column radical scavenging assays (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical (DPPH) and 2,2'-azinobis-(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) radical cation (ABTS(+))). In this approach, acidic potassium permanganate can react with readily oxidisable compounds (potential antioxidants), post-column, to produce chemiluminescence. Using flow injection analysis, experimental parameters that afforded the most suitable permanganate chemiluminescence signal for a range of known antioxidants were studied in a univariate approach. Optimum conditions were found to be: 1×10(-3)M potassium permanganate solution containing 1% (w/v) sodium polyphosphates adjusted to pH 2 with sulphuric acid, delivered at a flow rate of 2.5 mL min(-1) per line. Further investigations showed some differences in detection selectivity between HPLC with the optimised post-column permanganate chemiluminescence detection and DPPH and ABTS(+) assays towards antioxidant standards. However, permanganate chemiluminescence detection was more sensitive. Moreover, screening for antioxidants in green tea, cranberry juice and thyme using potassium permanganate chemiluminescence offers several advantages over the traditional DPPH and ABTS(+) assays, such as faster reagent preparation and superior stability; simpler post-column reaction manifold; and greater compatibility with fast chromatographic separations using monolithic columns.