To understand the reasons for differences in oxidative stability among edible oils, the temperature dependence was investigated for the development of volatile lipid oxidation products in fish oils and in vegetable oils. A rapid headspace capillary gas chromatographic method was developed to determine volatile oxidation products of omega-6 (n-6) polyunsaturated fats (pentane and hexanal) and omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fats (propanal) at different decomposition temperatures. Headspace gas chromatographic analyses of partially oxidized menhaden, bonita and sardine oils could be performed at 40°C, whereas soybean, canola, safflower, high-oleic sunflower and high-oleic safflower oils required temperatures greater than 100°C. Volatile formation by thermal decomposition of oxidized oils had lower apparent activation energies in fish oils than in vegetable oils, and significantly higher apparent activation energies in high-oleic oils than in polyunsaturated oils. The activation energy data on headspace volatiles provided another dimension toward a better understanding of the thermal stability of flavor precursors in unsaturated fish and vegetable oils.
Activation energy fish oils gas chromatography headspace gas chromatography hydroperoxide decomposition hydroperoxides linoleate linolenate n-3 PUFA n-6 PUFA vegetable oils volatiles