Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)-rich soy oil can be produced by photoisomerization of soy oil linoleic acid to produce a soy oil with up to 20% CLA. Recent studies indicate that mixed soy tocopherols added to refined bleached deodorized (RBD) oil produced significant increase in soy CLA yield during soy oil linoleic acid photoisomerization. However, the effect of common synthetic free radical scavenging antioxidants and specific tocopherols on CLA yield and its oxidative stability is not known. Therefore, this investigation evaluated the effects of various antioxidant systems on soy oil CLA yield and oxidative stability. Soy oil with added antioxidants consisting of combinations of mixed tocopherols (MT), ascorbyl palmitate (AP), butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and tert-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) was photoisomerized to produce CLA- rich soy oil. The CLA content was determined by GC-FID analysis and oxidative stability by peroxide value (PV). The soy oil in the presence of TBHQ, MT alone and MT with 500 ppm of AP produced significantly greater CLA yields and improved oxidative stability compared to a control without added antioxidants (p < 0.05). However, added mixed tocopherols produced the greatest CLA yield and also reduced PV relative to the control. Tocopherols in the form of α-, γ- and δ-tocopherols were then each examined as to their relative effect on CLA yields and PV. The largest increase in CLA yield was obtained with 1800 ppm of γ-tocopherols with reduced PV. Mixed tocopherols, TBHQ and γ-tocopherols can be used to increase CLA yield and reduce PV of soy oil during linoleic acid photoisomerization.
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