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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Functional Foods Research » Research » Research Project #428684

Research Project: Improving Quality, Stability, and Functionality of Oils and Bioactive Lipids

Location: Functional Foods Research

Project Number: 5010-44000-052-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Apr 13, 2015
End Date: Apr 12, 2020

Objective 1. Enable new methods using organogels and alternative oil structuring agents to generate commercial zero trans fat, low saturated fat margarines, shortenings, confectionary fats, and other lipid ingredients. Sub-Objective 1.A. Investigate and optimize the physical, rheological, and sensory properties of edible organogels. Sub-objective 1.B. Evaluate the effect of organogels on the properties of structured fats composed of either modified fatty acid composition vegetable oils or fully hydrogenated soybean or cottonseed oil with vegetable oils. Objective 2. Enable new commercial delivery systems using natural antioxidant technologies to protect frying oils, polyunsaturated oils, and bioactive lipids. Sub-Objective 2.A. Evaluate the activity of naturally occurring antioxidants and antioxidant combinations for protection of frying oils and fried foods. Sub-objective 2.B. Evaluate antioxidants or natural antioxidant extracts for protection of polyunsaturated and omega-3 oils and bioactive lipids. Sub-objective 2.C. Investigate new delivery systems for antioxidants, omega-3 oils, and bioactive ingredients. Objective 3. Quantitate and evaluate bioactive ingredients including antioxidants and bioactive lipids in commodity and non-commodity crops as well as in food and agricultural waste processing streams.

In order to tackle health issues facing the nation including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, nutritional experts are urging U.S. consumers to limit their consumption of both saturated fats and trans fats from hydrogenated oils, and to eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, in order to obtain the added benefits of the bioactive food constituents found in these foods. Food manufacturers, restaurants and bakeries are looking for alternatives to hydrogenated vegetable oils or imported palm oil that have the stability necessary for frying, or the functionality needed for margarines and shortenings. U.S. commodity vegetable oils are low in saturated fats and high in healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. However, without hydrogenation, the majority of these oils are not stable enough for frying and do not have the proper functionality for margarines and shortenings. The first objective of this project plan is to develop alternative methods of structuring oils in order to solve the problem of functionality for margarine and shortening applications. Low concentrations of natural, inexpensive ingredients, will be used to form organogels with liquid oils. Physical and rheological characteristics of organogels will be fully investigated and test margarines and shortenings will be developed from organogels with desirable physical and rheological properties. These will be further tested in food applications for creaming, aerating, and structuring ability, as well as sensory quality. The second objective of this plan is to develop natural antioxidant systems to protect polyunsaturated fats and bioactive lipids from oxidation and degradation in frying and in food systems, in order to extend the shelf-life and healthfulness of lipids and foods, and to replace synthetic antioxidants. Antioxidants will be tested for activity in commodity oils during frying, in order to extend the fry life and prevent oxidation products from forming. Potential antioxidants will also be tested for their ability to extend the oxidative stability and shelf life of model food systems, such as in oil-in-water emulsions, and in whole grain food products. The potential antioxidants will also be compared to synthetic antioxidants. The third objective of this research is to analyze byproducts of food and agricultural processing for valuable bioactive lipids and/or antioxidants, in order to develop new ingredients from these products, and to reduce waste. Spent coffee grounds, blueberry pomace, and various pulse processing fractions will be extracted and analyzed for bioactive lipids and water soluble antioxidants.