Application Note

HPLC Analysis of Phenolic Antioxidants in Edible Fats and Oils supporting Food Quality Control and Label Transparency


Fats and oils are used in cooking as a frying medium or as an ingredient in baking. Autoxidation of lipids in the fats and oils proceeds as a free-radical chain reaction that leads to rancidity causing foul flavors and smells. Phenolic antioxidants may be added to fats and oils to prevent oxidation and rancidity by functioning as free-radical terminators.1 Food additives, such as these, are regulated globally under various regulatory organizations as long-term elevated exposures leads to increased incidence of certain cancers.

Depending on the antioxidant, application, and the jurisdiction, concentrations shall not exceed 2 µg/g (2 ppm). It is important for manufacturers producing food stuffs containing phenolic antioxidants to employ robust analytical methods to ensure product consistency and maintain regulatory compliance. Also, for laboratories and regulatory agencies analyzing food stuffs containing phenolic antioxidants, this method allows labeling transparency for fair market competition and consumers’ trust. This application note demonstrates a fast, robust, and sensitive liquid chromatographic method for the analysis of ten commonly used phenolic antioxidants and builds upon prior work.