The susceptibility of food oil to quality loss is largely determined by the presence of oxygen. This article reviews the current understanding concerning the effect of oxygen types, location, and concentration on the oxidative stability of foods. It also discusses the major factors that influence the interaction between oxygen and lipids such as antioxidants, prooxidants, reactive oxygen species (ROS), environmental conditions, and oxygen scavengers. Research has shown that the amount of oxygen needed to cause oxidation is generally very small and that by reducing oxygen concentration in containers to less than 2%, oxidative stability can be greatly enhanced. However, very few studies have systematically examined the oxygen levels needed to reduce, or inhibit, lipid oxidation processes. Thus, a more comprehensive understanding of the relationship between oxygen levels and lipid oxidation is necessary for the development of innovative antioxidant solutions and package designs that prolong the quality of foods containing lipids.


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