Oxidative stability of fish and algae oils containing long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in bulk and in oil-in-water emulsions

Edwin N. Frankel, Teresa Satué-Gracia, Anne S. Meyer, J. Bruce German

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Scopus citations


The oxidative stability of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-containing fish and algae oils varies widely according to their fatty acid composition, the physical and colloidal states of the lipids, the contents of tocopherols and other antioxidants, and the presence and activity of transition metals. Fish and algal oils were initially much more stable to oxidation in bulk systems than in the corresponding oil-in-water emulsions. The oxidative stability of emulsions cannot, therefore, be predicted on the basis of stability data obtained with bulk long-chain PUFA-containing fish oils and DHA-containing algal oils. The relatively high oxidative stability of an algal oil containing 42% DHA was completely lost after chromatographic purification to remove tocopherols and other antioxidants. Therefore, this evidence does not support the claim that DHA-rich oils from algae are unusually stable to oxidation. Addition of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) prevented oxidation of both fish and algal oil emulsions without added iron and at low iron:EDTA molar concentrations. EDTA, however, promoted the oxidation of the corresponding emulsions that contained high iron:EDTA ratios. Therefore, to be effective as a metal chelator, EDTA must be added at molar concentrations higher than that of iron to inhibit oxidation of foods containing long-chain PUFA from either fish or algae and fortified with iron.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2094-2099
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Mar 27 2002


  • Algae oils
  • Antioxidants
  • Bulk systems
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-containing oils
  • Emulsions
  • Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)
  • Fish oils
  • Iron
  • Oxidative stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)


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