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J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Jan 9;61(1):238-46. doi: 10.1021/jf304441j. Epub 2012 Dec 26.

Identification of tocopherols, tocotrienols, and their fatty acid esters in residues and distillates of structured lipids purified by short-path distillation.

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Department of Food Science and Technology, The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602-2610, United States.


The fate of endogenous vitamin E isomers during production and purification of structured lipids (SLs) was investigated. Two SLs involving tripalmitin, stearidonic acid soybean oil, and docosahexaenoic acid were synthesized by transesterification catalyzed by Novozym 435 (NSL) and acidolysis by Lipozyme TL IM (LDHA) and purified by short-path distillation (SPD). The electron impact and chemical ionization mass spectra of tocopheryl and tocotrienyl fatty acid esters in the distillates measured by GC-MS in synchronous scan/SIM mode demonstrated that these esters were formed during acidolysis as well as transesterification. The predominant esters were tocopheryl palmitate, tocopheryl oleate, and tocopheryl linoleate homologues, and no tocopheryl or tocotrienyl linolenate, stearidonate, or docosahexaenoate was found. Meanwhile, none of these esters were detected in the residues for either NSL or LDHA. Less than 50% of vitamin E isomers were present in residues after SPD. This loss played a major role in the rapid oxidative deterioration of SLs from previous studies with less contribution from the formation of tocopheryl and tocotrienyl esters. The lost tocopherols and tocotrienols present at high concentration in the distillates may be recovered and used to improve the oxidative stability of SLs.

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