, Volume 73, Issue 3, pp 327-332

Participation of thecis-12 ethylenic bond tocis-trans isomerization of thecis-9 andcis-15 ethylenic bonds in heated α-linolenic acid

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Abstract

To understand thecis-trans isomerization reaction of ethylenic bonds in heated octadecatrienoic acids (occurring during industrial deodorization of oils), we have prepared a mixture ofcis-9,cis-12,cis-15, andcis-9,cis-15 18:2 acids by partial hydrazine reduction ofcis-9,cis-12,cis-15 18:3 acid present in linseed oil. This mixture (as fatty acid methyl esters) was heated under vacuum at 270°C for 2.25 h. The two methylene-interrupted acids isomerize at a similar rate under such conditions, but the nonmethylene-interruptedcis-9,cis-15 18:2 acid remains unchanged. This means that the mechanism of isomerization does not involve a direct interaction between the two external ethylenic bonds as previously hypothesized. The centralcis-12 ethylenic bond is apparently necessary for the isomerization of the two externalcis-9 andcis-15 ethylenic bonds. However, this bond is itself rather protected against isomerization in the originalcis-9,cis-12,cis-15 18:3 acid which is mainly isomerized totrans-9,cis-12,trans-15,cis-9,cis-12,trans-15, andtrans-9,cis-12,cis-15 18:3 acids. Thecis-9,trans-12,cis-15 18:3 isomer is less than 10% of totaltrans isomers of α-linolenic acid. As a general rule, only one of the two double bonds in a methylene-interrupted diethylenic system can undergocis-trans isomerization when submitted to heat treatment, at least for temperatures equal to or less than 270°C.