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Effects of Solid Fat Content, Synthetic Antioxidants and Headspace Oxygen Reduction on the Rates of Oxidation in Surface and Total Lipids of Crackers

Abstract
Unsaturated fats undergo a process known as oxidation by which they are degraded into undesirable compounds. Therefore it is important for food manufacturers to employ antioxidant strategies. Crackers were used as a model in these studies because of their dietary contribution to saturated, and because the properties of crackers are translatable to other low moisture foods. The objective of this thesis was to determine if there was a significant variance in rates of oxidation between surface and total lipids in crackers and how solid fat content, synthetic antioxidants, and reduction of headspace oxygen affect those rates. It was hypothesized that lipids on the surface of a cracker would be more prone to oxidation than those on the interior. Experiments consisted of treatments to monitor total lipid oxidation and surface lipid oxidation. In the first experiment, crackers were formulated with soy oils of varying solid fat content. The second experiment monitored the effects of two synthetic antioxidants, BHT and TBHQ. The third experiment involved flushing the headspace of cracker storage vials with different blends of nitrogen and oxygen to inhibit lipid oxidation. Overall, significant differences did not exist in the rates of oxidation between surface and interior lipids. The lower the solid fat content of an oil, the more prone it was to oxidation. Antioxidants of greater hydrophobicity have increased efficacy in low moisture foods. Greater than 70% oxygen reduction is necessary to impart any antioxidant effect on crackers.
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