Oxidation is initiated by the formation of carbon radicals as a result of chain cleavage. The carbon radicals add oxygen to form peroxy radicals. Pro-oxidants increase the formation of free radicals and enhance oxidative damage.
Various trace metals, especially copper and iron, act as pro-oxidants in fat. Thus in processing must be taken to eliminate contamination with these trace minerals.
Iron and copper are considered to be pro-oxidant minerals that might reduce both the shelf-life and the sensory characteristics of food such as hazelnuts, because they are involved in rancidity.
Therefore, varieties with are low in pro-oxidants components, rich in antioxidant components are preferred for processing, because they minimize post-harvest quality losses and packaging and refrigeration costs.
Pro-oxidant minerals are needed to be isolated from the lipid fraction by encapsulation. From the viewpoint of lipid oxidation, the essential minerals should have been left out of the formulation because they are powerful pro-oxidants and could as a consequence limit the product’s shelf life.
Minerals as pro-oxidant
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