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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item List, Gary
item Warner, Kathleen
item Pintauro, P
item Gil, Maria

Submitted to: Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2006
Publication Date: 2/22/2007
Citation: List, G.R., Warner, K.A., Pintauro, P.N., Gil, M.P. 2007. Low trans shortening and spread fats produced by electrochemical hydrogenation. Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society. 84:497-501.

Interpretive Summary: Baking shortenings are among the highest in trans fatty content. By January 1, 2006, such information will be required on nutrition food labels. Traditionally, these products have been formulated with hydrogenated vegetable oils. This paper describes a novel processing technology in which oil hydrogenation is carried out electrochemically and produces about 60% less trans acids than traditional fat hardening techniques. Oils produced by the new method should perform well in shortenings, spreads, and liquid margarines. This research will benefit the edible oil industry, food manufacturers, and consumers through healthier products.

Technical Abstract: Soybean oil (IV 132) was hydrogenated electrochemically in the presence of palladium/cobalt and palladium/iron catalyst to iodine values ranging from 90-120. Temperatures ranged fron 70-90 deg C. Under these conditions, trans fatty acid (TFA) ranged from 6.4-13.8% and stearic acid ranged fron 8.8-15.4% indicating that some selectivity is lost. However, solid fat values and melting point data indicate that electrochemical hydrogenation provides a route to low-trans spreads and baking shortening. Shortenings produced by conventional hydrogenation contain 12-25% trans and up to 37% saturates, whereas shortening oils produced electrochemically show reduced TFA and saturate content. Electrochemical hydrogenation shows promise as a route to low trans spread and liquid margarine oils. Compared to commercial margarine/spread oils containing 8-12% TFA, electrochemical hydrogenation results in about 4% TFA.

Last Modified: 05/25/2017
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