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The Influence of Tocopherols on the Oxidation Stability of Methyl Esters

Fröhlich, András, Schober, Sigurd
The journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society 2007 v.84 no.6 pp. 579-585
sunflower oil, thermal stability, delta-tocopherol, viscosity, rapeseed oil, gamma-tocopherol, alpha-tocopherol, fatty acid esters, oxidation, biodiesel, heat treatment, peroxidation, antioxidants, tallow
Tocopherols were found to be the principal natural antioxidants in biodiesel grade fatty acid methyl esters. The stabilising effect of α-, γ- and δ- tocopherols from 250 to 2,000 mg/kg was evaluated by thermal and accelerated storage induction times based on rapid viscosity increase, in sunflower (SME), recycled vegetable oil (RVOME), rapeseed (RME) and tallow (TME) methyl esters. Both induction times showed that stabilising effect is of the order of δ- > γ- > α-tocopherol, and that the stabilising effect increased with concentration. The correlation between the two induction times however was poor, which is probably due to the fact that the time they correspond to two different stages of oxidation. Tocopherols were found to stabilise methyl esters by reducing the rate of peroxide formation while present. The deactivation rates of tocopherols increased with unsaturation of the particular methyl ester and in the present work they were of the order of SME > RME > RVOME > TME. While α-tocopherol was found to be a relatively weak antioxidants, both γ- and δ- tocopherols increased induction times significantly and should be added to methyl esters without natural antioxidants.