Lipid oxidation is a major cause of quality deterioration in many foods. It can alter the flavour and nutritional quality of products leading to generation of unpleasant flavours (rancidity) and to formation of toxic compounds. Most current knowledge of t he mechanisms of lipid oxidation has been obtained from the study of bulk oils. However, these are not ideal systems to predict oxidation reactions in real foods, characterised by inherent compositional and structural complexity. As many foods are emulsified materials a better understanding of the mechanism of lipid oxidation in emulsions is crucial for their formulation, production and storage. Early work on lipid oxidation of emulsions did not take into account the structure of the system (droplet size distribution, interfacial properties etc.).
It will be a basic target of this project to study the relationship between lipid oxidation and physical structure of protein stabilised oil-in-water emulsions by use of currently developed analytical techniques. The effect of droplet size distribution, type and phase-partition of emulsifier and type and amount of oil phase on oxidation rates will be investigated. Promising recent research has focused on natural antioxidants, effective in retarding rancidity in fatty foods and in inhibiting lipid peroxidation in the human body (upgrading related foods to and quot; functional foods and quot;). Another basic aim of this project will be to determine the emulsion micro-structural limitations that govern the potential and mechanism of action of selected natural antioxidants that have not been widely studied yet.
The project will facilitate the reintegration of the candidate to his country of origin, supporting financially a 2 years research contract expected to be offered to him by an independent project of NTUA. He will have the opportunity to extend his knowledge and research experience obtained as a Marie Curie Postdoc Fellow at Unilever R and amp;D (Netherlands).
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