Rancidity of edible oil is a major problem in food related industries. It occurs during storage and is caused by free radical oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids, resulting in foul odors and tastes in the final product.
During the past two decades, the food industry has transitioned to the use of natural plant extract-based antioxidants in a variety of food products. The goal is to protect the shelf life of products from free radical oxidation without the use of traditional synthetic food additives. Many of the synthetic additives developed in the 1950s and 1960s are now known to have adverse health effects.
Recently, a new trend has emerged that combines culinary with science in what are referred to as “Innovation Kitchens”. Here, the combination of unique new recipes made with natural healthy ingredients are created by teams of scientists and culinary experts. One aspect of these Innovation Kitchens involves testing of new formulations and recipes to optimize their shelf life.
Many older test methods are still in use, but some of these require longer shelf life testing times, and hence, longer times to validate a new product for market. Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) provides a testing technique that measures free radicals formed during the oxidation of many materials including edible oils and edible oil containing food products. In many cases, the time to validate a new product’s ability to resist free radical oxidation is cut in half.
Bruker has developed a benchtop electron spin resonance instrument with automation and a software solution designed specifically for measuring free radical oxidation and shelf life in food products. The combined system and SOP provide an easy workflow for measuring oxidation profiles in food samples.