The relative free radical scavenging activity of -carotene, lycopene, and torulene toward OOH radicals has been studied using density functional theory. Hydrogen atom transfer (HAT) and radical adduct formation (RAF) mechanisms have been considered. All the possible reaction sites have been included in the modeling, and detailed branching ratios are reported for the first time. The reactions of hydrocarbon carotenoids (Car) with peroxyl radicals, in both polar and nonpolar environments, are predicted to proceed via RAF mechanism, with contributions higher than 98% to the overall OOH + Car reactions. Lycopene and torulene were found to be more reactive than β-carotene. In nonpolar environments the reactivity of the studied carotenoids toward peroxyl radical follows the trend LYC > TOR > BC, whereas in aqueous solutions it is TOR > LYC > BC. OOH adducts are predicted to be formed mainly at the terminal sites of the conjugated polyene chains. The main addition sites were found to be C5 for β-carotene and lycopene and C30 for torulene. The general agreement between the calculated magnitudes and the available experimental data supports the predictions from this work. © 2009 American Chemical Society.