Project Details


Oxidation in food leads to rapid deterioration of eating quality with development of off-flavors, off-odors, some browning, and texture changes; it also results in destruction of nutrients and potential formation of toxic compounds. Oxidation is the only deteriorative reaction that occurs in very dry foods. Traditional stabilization tools of the food industry are proving to be ineffective in foods formulated for health with highly oxidizable n-3 and essential n-6 fatty acids. Additional stresses are imposed by increasing demand for international distribution and storage of foods for emergency food aid, particularly in high temperatures. Lipid and protein oxidation are also a problem in vivo, contributing to a long list of pathologies and diseases. Thus, there is clear and critical need for new information to understand the reactions involved in oxidation of foods and guide improvements in formulation, processing, and packaging to protect the world food supply against oxidation loss. This project addresses these issues by combining fundamental studies of lipid and protein oxidation in model systems to identify chemical details with applied studies in real foods to determine how the reactions change in complex systems. Patterns of oxidation in actual foods will be used to design chemical and instrumental analyses to measure the rate and extent of oxidation in foods and monitor the quality and safety of foods during transport and storage. Since lipid oxidation is a dynamic process that constantly changes and generates many different products over time, combinations of tests that most accurately portray the total state of oxidation in foods will be developed for research, on-line industrial process control, product quality control, and field screening. Analyzing foods with these tools will provide information critically needed to identify problems in production and develop more effective ways to limit oxidation in foods. Recognition that oxidation is involved in aging and cancer has stimulated intense research to identify natural antioxidants that prevent or inhibit these pathologies when foods are consumed, and hundreds of fruits and vegetables exhibiting strong radical scavenging have been identified. Considering security of world food supplies, it seems wasteful to divert edible food to antioxidant production, so antioxidant assays are being redirected from in vivo protection to food stabilization, and new natural antioxidants are being isolated from waste food materials for use in preventing oxidation in foods. This approach can protect and extend world food supplies while creating opportunities for value-added agricultural products. Natural antioxidants are also being added to multilayer controlled release packaging for continual delivery during extended storage. Integrating all these results will provide the first new understanding of lipid oxidation in several decades, the most complete and detailed picture of lipid oxidation and its footprints in foods ever obtained, and dynamic new stabilization approaches that should greatly reduce food loss during storage and distribution of regular and emergency food supplies world-wide.
Effective start/end date10/1/109/30/15


  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture (National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA))


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.