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Abstract

Furan fatty acids (F-acids) are heterocyclic lipid components with a furan moiety in the centre of the molecule. Reports on F-acids in the literature are rather scarce, although they are considered as particularly valuable food ingredients. F-acids occur as minor compounds in the lipids of different food samples. Despite the low concentrations, some studies produced evidence that the F-acids are excellent radical scavengers and thus are able to protect polyunsaturated fatty acids from lipid peroxidation. Accordingly, they may play a currently underrated and largely overlooked positive role in human nutrition. The limited data available result from difficulties in the analysis of these trace compounds. F-acids in food can hardly be determined without selective enrichment and the use of gas chromatography with mass spectrometry for their determination. The lack of reference standards is a further drawback that hampers the exact assessment of the actual relevance of F-acids in human nutrition.