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J Dairy Sci. 1980 Jul;63(7):1181-98.

Initiation of oxidative changes in foods.

Abstract

Initiation of lipid peroxidation in foods may be accomplished by a variety of mechanisms. Two principal initiation reactions involve homolytic scission of preformed peroxides as catalyzed by metal ions and heme proteins and the reaction of activated oxygen species with the lipid substrate to yield peroxides and free radicals. Copper and cytochromes in the milk fat globule membrane may serve as focal points for initiation of lipid peroxidation by catalyzing homolytic scission of peroxides. Activated oxygen species which may be important in initiating oxidative changes in foods include singlet oxygen, hydroxyl radical, ozone, superoxide anion (perhydroxyl radical at low pH), and hydrogen peroxide. Chemical and enzymic reactions in biological materials can generate singlet oxygen, hydroxyl radical, superoxide anion, and hydrogen peroxide. Ozone is primarily a product of photoreactions in polluted air. Reactions involving singlet oxygen, hydroxyl radical, and ozone with food constituents ultimately can yield peroxides which decompose to initiate oxidative chain reactions. Superoxide anion and hydrogen peroxide are relatively inert toward organic molecules but can decompose to produce the more reactive singlet oxygen and hydroxyl radical. Inhibition of reactions initiated by reactive oxygen species in foods should be very important in preserving the oxidative stability of foods. This paper presents a brief review of possible initiation reactions for lipid peroxidation and inhibition of reactions of activated oxygen species that are of importance in food systems.

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