Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society

, Volume 74, Issue 3, pp 293–297 | Cite as

Effect of fatty acid composition of phospholipids on their antioxidant properties and activity index

  • Chigozie Victor Nwosu
  • Leon C. Boyd
  • Brian Sheldon


Various phospholipids may act as antioxidants or prooxidants. This study investigated the effects of three phospholipid classes and their fatty acid composition on antioxidant activity. Antioxidant properties of sphingomyelin, phosphatidylcholine, and phosphatidylethanolamine from salmon and menhaden oil were measured by oxidation induction time. An antioxidant activity index was determined in these systems with the Rancimat 617. Fatty acid profiles of the individual phospholipids and total oils were determined by gas-liquid chromatography before and after oxidation. The index was significantly (P<0.05) influenced by the headgroup and fatty acid composition of the phospholipid. Lipids with a choline headgroup had oxidation induction times greater than 60 h in the salmon oil system. The choline-containing phospholipid also offered better (P<0.05) protection from oxidation to the n-3 and total polyunsaturated fatty acids in salmon oil. Phospholipids containing more saturated fatty acids had longer oxidation induction times (>84 h) and higher antioxidant index (>9). Chainlength of the fatty acids may have contributed to the observed index, as phospholipids with longer chains (i.e., C18 and above) had longer oxidation induction times. Phospholipids tested in this study had little or no antioxidant activity in menhaden oil, nor did they offer protection to n-3 or total polyunsaturated fatty acids in this oil. These findings suggest that fatty acid profiles of individual oils may influence the antioxidant index of each phospholipid.

Key words

Activity index fatty acid profile induction time phospholipids 


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Copyright information

© AOCS Press 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chigozie Victor Nwosu
    • 1
  • Leon C. Boyd
    • 2
  • Brian Sheldon
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Food Science and Animal IndustriesAlabama A&M UniversityNormal
  2. 2.Department of Food ScienceNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleigh

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