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Oxidation processes & Antioxidants
Oxidation process is an undesirable series of chemical reactions involving oxygen that degrades the quality of raw materials, feedstuffs and vitamins. The use of antioxidants delay or inhibit degradation processes increasing their shelf life and optimizing animal performance and health.
The oxidation reaction is irreversible and eventually produces rancidity, with accompanying off flavours and smells. The process of oxidation can be monitored by measuring degradation compounds like peroxide values over a period of time. When displayed graphically, this produces a characteristic curve as shown below:
Relationship between stages of lipid oxidation and peroxide value
Figure1. Relationship between stages of lipid oxidation and peroxide value
(Finley J.W., deMan J.M. ,2018).
In order to prevent oxidation of susceptible materials, antioxidants are used. Temperature is the most significant factor affecting lipid oxidation rates, in the same way, oxygen from the environment, alongside relative humidity increases the risk of oxidation. The principle products used in this way are BHA, BHT and propyl gallate regarding synthetic solutions and tocopherols regarding natural ones. Certain antioxidants have been found to have a synergistic effect when used in combination, forming an antioxidant blend. An effective antioxidant must be correctly formulated and applied early enough to afford the best protection.