• Antioxidants;
  • Effect of heat;
  • Frying;
  • Lutein;
  • Oil;
  • Rosemary;
  • Trans fatty acids


The intake of foods containing trans fatty acids (TFAs) can have deleterious effects on human health, mainly on the cardiovascular system. Thus, it is important to consider the processes that form TFAs in foods, and the alternatives to minimise their formation. The influence of two added natural antioxidants on TFA formation during heat treatment (120 h at 180°C) of sunflower vegetable oil were examined: rosemary extract (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) (1 g per kg oil) and lutein (0.1 g per kg oil). Changes in FA composition were determined using Ag-ion SPE and gas–liquid chromatography, with total polar compounds determined using dielectric constant measurements and the index of atherogenicity was calculated. Total TFAs with ≥1 trans double bond increased from 0.91 to 1.71% in control samples; this increase was significantly less with both rosemary extract (1.55%) and lutein (1.43%) additions. Among the individual TFAs, significant increases were seen for C18:1,t-9, C18:2,t-9,t-12 and C18:2,c-9,t-12/9-t,12-c. Polar compounds also increased, with the highest concentrations in control samples, and significantly less with both rosemary extract and lutein additions. According to results of our study, we can summarize that addition of lutein have greater effect on reduction of TFA formation than rosemary extract.

Practical applications: Antioxidants, particularly from plants, are widely used in the food industry. They can provide benefits in food preparation, including improving colour, odour and stability, acting as acid regulators and natural preservatives. They have also become accepted by customers and consumers, and so indirectly they have had effects on consumer perception. Addition of natural antioxidants such as rosemary extract is usually limited by the sensory characteristics of the food, with one study showing that addition of rosemary extract at 1–3 g per kg vegetable oil is recommended. The effects of antioxidants on the formation of TFAs in vegetable oils has not been well studied in the literature. Among the already known benefits, the use of such antioxidants as functional ingredients in lipid technologies might reduce the formation of TFAs during thermal treatment.