Friday, July 4, 2008

Antioxidants as food additive

Antioxidants as food additive
Antioxidants are food additives used, since about 1947, to stabilize foods that by their composition would otherwise undergo significant loss in quality in the presence of oxygen. Oxidative quality changes in foods include the development of rancidity from oxidation of unsaturated fats resulting in off-odors and off-flavors and discoloration from oxidation of pigments or other components of the food.

Although it would seem relatively simple to prevent oxidation of foods by proper packaging and precaution during handling, the facts are that oxygen is difficult to exclude from food systems, especially since it is often closely associated with the food and that only minute amounts of oxygen are sufficient to degrade the food.

There are a large number of antioxidants, and although they may function in different ways, the net effect of each is to prevent, delay, or minimize the oxidation of foods to which they are added. One other ways by which some antioxidants function involves their combination with oxygen.

Others prevent oxygen from reacting with components of the food. When only a limited amount of oxygen is present, as in a hermetically sealed container, it is possible for some antioxidants to use up all of the available free oxygen, because they have a relatively great affinity for it.
Antioxidants as food additive
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