Nereis. Interdisciplinary Ibero-American Journal of Methods, Modelling and Simulation.


Plant species as food antioxidants


Lipid oxidation is the main deterioration reaction during the processing of food, as well as in its storage. Both circumstances limit the shelf-life of most foods, causing musty smell and taste in them, a process which is known as oxidative rancidity. In addition, lipid oxidation can damage biological membranes, enzymes and proteins, resulting in the appearance of potentially toxic secondary compounds. To control these oxidative processes, the addition of antioxidants is a common strategy against oxidative reactions in the processing or storage of food. The antioxidants that are commonly used have begun to concern today’s society that they may have harmful effects on human health. Recently, an industry of natural antioxidants derived from plant species and that can replace synthetic antioxidants is thus emerging. Not only does the enrichment of processed foods with vegetable extracts solve the problem of oxidation of food, but it can also result in an improvement of the consumer’s health. These natural compounds are mainly polyphenols (phenolic acids, flavonoids, anthocyanins, lignins), carotenoids (xanthophylls and carotenes), tocopherols, tocotrienols and some amino acids and peptides. They are widely distributed in species of cereals, aromatics, fruit trees, horticultural crops and oilseeds. Natural antioxidants present in aromatic plant species such as rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) and sage (Salvia officinalis L.) are already being marketed as natural and safe food preservatives, being applied to foods which are rich in fats such as vegetable oils.


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