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Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2006;46(1):1-22.

Chemistry and reactions of reactive oxygen species in foods.

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Department of Food Science and Technology, The Ohio State University, 2015 Fyffe Court, Columbus, OH, 43210, USA.


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are formed enzymatically, chemically, photochemically, and by irradiation of food. They are also formed by the decomposition and the inter-reactions of ROS. Hydroxy radical is the most reactive ROS, followed by singlet oxygen. Reactions of ROS with food components produce undesirable volatile compounds and carcinogens, destroy essential nutrients, and change the functionalities of proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates. Lipid oxidation by ROS produces low molecular volatile aldehydes, alcohols, and hydrocarbons. ROS causes crosslink or cleavage of proteins and produces low molecular carbonyls from carbohydrates. Vitamins are easily oxidized by ROS, especially singlet oxygen. The singlet oxygen reaction rate was the highest in ss-carotene, followed by tocopherol, riboflavin, vitamin D, and ascorbic acid.

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