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J Agric Food Chem. 2006 May 3;54(9):3445-53.

Molecular mechanism of antioxidant synergism of tocotrienols and carotenoids in palm oil.

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Department of Food Science, Food Chemistry, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Rolighedsvej 30, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark.


During repeated deep-fat frying of potato slices at 163 degrees C in yellow or red palm olein of comparable fatty acid profiles, the oxidative stability (peroxide value and anisidine value) of the palm oleins was similar, and in yellow palm olein, the rate of antioxidant depletion decreased in the order gamma-T3 > alpha-T3 > delta-T3 (T3, tocotrienol). In red palm olein, which had a total tocopherol/tocotrienol content of 1260 vs 940 ppm in yellow palm olein and a corresponding longer induction period in the Rancimat stability test at 120 degrees C, only depletion of gamma-T3 was significant among the phenols during frying and slower as compared to that in yellow palm olein. The carotenes in the red palm olein were depleted linearly with the number of fryings, apparently yielding an overall protection of the phenols. In antioxidant-depleted palm olein and in phospholipid liposomes with added increasing concentrations of phenols, gamma-T3 was found to be a better antioxidant than alpha-T3. alpha-T3 and alpha-T (T, tocopherol) had a similar antioxidant effect in antioxidant-depleted palm olein in the Rancimat stability test, while in the liposomes the ordering as determined by induction period for the formation of conjugated dienes was gamma-T3 > alpha-T3 > alpha-T. The addition of 100-1000 ppm beta-carotene to antioxidant-depleted palm olein or liposomes (lycopene also tested) did not provide any protection against oxidation. In the liposomes, synergistic interactions were observed between beta-carotene or lycopene and alpha-T, alpha-T3, or gamma-T3 for carotene/phenol ratios of 1:10 and 1:2 but not for 1:1. In chloroform, carotenes were regenerated by tocopherols/tocotrienols from carotene radicals generated by laser flash photolysis as shown by transient absorption spectroscopy, suggesting that carotenes rather than phenols are the primary substrate for lipid-derived radicals in red palm olein, in effect depleting carotenes prior to phenols during frying. Regeneration of carotenes by the phenols also explains the synergism in liposomes. In the laser flash photolysis experiments, gamma-T3 was also found to be faster in regenerating carotenes than alpha-T3 and alpha-T.

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