Additives in food: Antioxidant

Oxidation is a not a process exclusive to the human body. It occurs in every living organism and biological system, such as food products. Food oxidation may result in altered flavor, color, nutritional value, and texture, as well as create toxic compounds.

Therefore, antioxidant compounds are one of the most important conservation technologies used by the food industry with their main function being the prevention of oxidative induced degradation of foods.

Antioxidant is a molecule stable enough to donate an electron to a rampaging free radical and neutralize it, thus reducing its capacity to damage. These antioxidants delay or inhibit cellular damage mainly through their free radical scavenging property. The applications of antioxidants have been widespread in the food industry for decades; and are in use in preventing lipids from oxidative degradation. Antioxidants protect cells against the effects of harmful free radicals.

Retarding autoxidation delays the appearance of such undesirable qualities as rancidity in foods, loss of elasticity in rubbers, and formation of gums in gasolines. Antioxidants most commonly used are such organic compounds as aromatic amines, phenols, and aminophenols.

Phenolic compounds, besides being associated with antimicrobial activity, are known for their high antioxidant capacity. They are ubiquitous to plants and therefore present one interesting class of antioxidant compounds to be exploited, although other compounds with a strong antioxidant capacity can also be found, such as some vitamins (vitamin C, E, and A), bioactive peptides, polysaccharides, some minerals, and enzymes.
Additives in food: Antioxidant

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