Vegetable oils including soybean oil have nutritional benefits due to the high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). However, high reactivity of PUFA toward oxidation limits these oil's utilization for frying oil in the food industry. Partially-hydrogenated oils have historically been used in the food industry to solve this problem. However, the hydrogenation process generates trans-fats. Since labeling or banning of trans-fat in food products became mandatory in many municipalities and countries, food manufacturers have switched to plant-based highly saturated oils such as palm oil or fully-hydrogenated oil; but consumption of these oils is not recommended, either. These oils with high degree of saturation also are increasingly used in margarine and spread products to replace the partially-hydrogenated oils in these products. Therefore, our research focuses on:
•• Development of natural antioxidants that can prevent vegetable oils from oxidation during frying
•• Development of new methods to improve antioxidant activity of an antioxidant
•• Development of new antioxidants/methods for other oils including omega-3 oils during manufacturing process and storage
•• Understanding oxidation mechanism and oxidation products
•• Organogel as an alternative to trans- and saturated fats in margarine and spread products
•• Organogel as an ingredient in other various food products to replace trans- and saturated fat.
Our results should help:
•• U. S. economy by increasing consumption of U. S. commodity vegetable oils and by reducing import of tropical oils including palm oil
•• U. S. economy by prolonging the lifetime of frying oil and by reducing waste oil
•• People's health by replacing trans- and saturated fats with healthy vegetable oils
•• People's health by reducing toxic oxidation products during frying and oil storage
•• Understanding of the oxidation mechanism and oxidation products.