Electron spin resonance spectroscopy for determination of the oxidative stability of food lipids

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Evaluation of the oxidative stability of food lipids based on the tendency of formation of radicals is shown to be possible using electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy and the spin-trapping technique. Induction time can be determined for mildly accelerated conditions (50°C for lipid fraction from mayonnaise enriched with fish oil), and the length of the induction time decreases during storage and γ-tocopherol depletion. The protection by ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid against initiation of lipid oxidation is also detected in the new assay. For more oxidatively stable lipids (butter, rapeseed oil, dairy spread) the mildly accelerated conditions can be used in the assay, provided that difference in signal height for fixed times replaces determination of induction time. ESR spin trapping provides a sensitive method for evaluating the oxidative stability of food lipids. Detection of radicals in the lipid as an early event in oxidation allows mild conditions to be used, and future experiments should also include sensory evaluation in relation to determination of practical shelf life.