Date of Award


Document type


Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Food Science

First Advisor

Eric A. Decker

Second Advisor

D. Julian McClements

Third Advisor

Yeonhwa Park

Subject Categories

Food Science


Even though edible oils undergo refining processes to remove undesirable components, commercial oils still contain small amounts of minor components that can contribute to either prooxidant and antioxidant pathways which ultimately affect the quality of the oils. The objective of this research was to determine the role of free fatty acids and mono- and diacylglycerols on the oxidative stability of oil-in-water emulsions.

Free fatty acids acted as a strong prooxidants in stripped soybean oil-in-water emulsions. Concentrations as low as 0.1% of the lipid accelerated lipid oxidation rate by both shortening the lag phase of lipid hydroperoxide and hexanal formation. The results showed that the most likely mechanisms for the prooxidant activity of free fatty acids is through their ability to increase the negatively charge on emulsion droplets that in turn could attract the cationic transition metals to the emulsion droplet surface where they can interact with lipid and thus promote oxidation. The prooxidant activity of free fatty acids was dependent on fatty acid type with lipid oxidation rates being in the order of linolenic < linoleic < oleic. Surprisingly, an increase in the degree of unsaturation of the free fatty viii acids lowered the ability of the free fatty acids to promote oxidation which may be due to their differences in geometric shape thus influencing their ability to access the emulsion droplet interface and increase the negative charge. Overall, free fatty acids are strong prooxidants in oil-in-water emulsions. This prooxidant activity is dependent not only on their concentration but also on the molecular structure of the fatty acid.

Addition of mono- and diacylglycerols in oil-in-water emulsions showed an antioxidative effect in both non-stripped and stripped soybean oil. Addition of 1-monooleoylglycerol only had a small impact on the oxidative stability of non-stripped soybean oil-in-water emulsions but did inhibit lipid oxidation in emulsions prepared with stripped soybean. Much stronger antioxidant activity was observed upon the addition of 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycerol to both non-stripped and stripped soybean oil-in-water emulsions. Both lipid hydroperoxide and hexanal formation decreased with increasing 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycerol concentrations with 2.5% 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycerol almost completely preventing hydroperoxide and hexanal production over the course of the study. Overall, these results suggest that diacylglycerols could be an effective antioxidant in oil-in-water emulsions which possibility due to their ability to form a liquid crystal phase which could form a physical barrier that decreases interactions between unsaturated fatty acids in the emulsion droplet core and prooxidants or oxygen in the aqueous phase of the emulsion. However, the antioxidant mechanism of diacylglycerols is not currently understood and needs further investigation.


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