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Glycidyl Fatty Acid Esters in Refined Edible Oils: A Review on Formation, Occurrence, Analysis, and Elimination Methods

Wei‐wei Cheng, Guo‐qin Liu, Li‐qing Wang, Zeng‐she Liu
Comprehensive reviews in food science and food safety 2017 v.16 no.2 pp. 263-281
analytical methods, carcinogens, cooking fats and oils, deodorization, epoxy compounds, fatty acid esters, gastrointestinal system, neoplasms, oil refining, rats, reaction mechanisms, tissues
Glycidyl fatty acid esters (GEs), one of the main contaminants in processed oils, are mainly formed during the deodorization step in the refining process of edible oils and therefore occur in almost all refined edible oils. GEs are potential carcinogens, due to the fact that they readily hydrolyze into the free form glycidol in the gastrointestinal tract, which has been found to induce tumors in various rat tissues. Furthermore, glycidol has already been identified as a “possible human carcinogen’’ (group 2A) by the Intl. Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Therefore, significant effort has been devoted to inhibit and eliminate the formation of GEs. The aim of this review is to provide a comprehensive summary on the following topics: (i) GE occurrence data for different edible oils and oil‐based food products, (ii) precursors of GEs, (iii) factors influencing the formation of GEs, (iv) potential reaction mechanisms involving the leaving group and reaction intermediates, and (v) analytical methods, including the indirect and direct methods. More importantly, the various elimination methods for GEs in refined edible oils are being reviewed with focus on 3 aspects: (i) inhibition and removal of reactants, (ii) modification of reactive conditions, and (iii) elimination of GE products.