Abstract: A spectrofluorometer equipped with a highly sensitive near-IR InGaAs detector was used for the direct visualization of singlet oxygen emission at 1268 nm in olive oil during light irradiation with various different wavelengths. The virgin olive oil in methylene chloride (20% w/v, oxygen saturated) was irradiated at the 301, 417, 454, 483, and 668 nm, then the emission at 1268 nm, singlet oxygen dimole decaying was observed. The result showed the highest production of 1O2 with light irradiation at 417 nm, and followed by at 668 nm in virgin olive oil, indicating that pheophytin a and chlorophyll a were the most responsible components for the production of singlet oxygen. The UV light irradiations at the wavelength of 200, 250, and 300 nm did not induce any detectable luminescence emission at 1268 nm, but 350 nm produced weak emission at 1269 nm. The quantity of 1O2 produced with excitation at 350 nm was about 1/6 of that of irradiation at 417 nm. Addition of an efficient 1O2 quencher, 1,4-diazabicyclo[2.2.2]octane, in virgin olive oil in methylene chloride greatly decreased the luminescence emission at 1268 nm, confirming the singlet oxygen production in olive oil. Singlet oxygen production was more efficient in oxygen-purged virgin olive oil than in oxygen non-purged olive oil. This represents first report on the direct observation of singlet oxygen formation in olive oil as well as in real-food system after visible light illumination.
Practical Application: The present results show the positive evidence of the singlet oxygen involvement in rapid oxidative deterioration of virgin olive oil under visible light. This paper also shows the effects of different wavelength of light irradiation on the formation of singlet oxygen in olive oil. The present results would provide important information for the understanding of the mechanism involved in rapid oxidative quality deterioration of virgin olive oil under light illumination and for searching the preventive methods of deterioration of olive oil quality under light.