2-Propenal (acrolein) is a toxic aldehyde generated from the thermal degradation of edible oils. While previous studies have suggested that linolenic acid (LnA) is the origin of acrolein formation in edible oils, these studies were performed under thermal conditions where only the fatty acid hydroperoxide (FAOOH) isomers derived from radical oxidation were formed. In this study, we reinvestigated the acrolein generation pathway through another oxidation mechanism involving singlet oxygen (1O2) oxidation (type II photo-oxidation). Standards of the main FAOOH isomers (oleic acid hydroperoxide, linoleic acid hydroperoxide (HpODE), and linolenic acid hydroperoxide (HpOTE)) found in edible oils were prepared, and their decomposition products, including those derived from1O2 oxidation (i.e., 10- and 12-HpODE) were analyzed by GC-EI-MS. We found that 1O2 oxidation products of linoleic acid (LA) and LnA but not OA, are significant sources of acrolein formation. The amount of acrolein formed from edible oils high in LA (e.g., rice bran oil) increased by photo irradiation. Further investigation into the mechanism of acrolein generation demonstrated that the amount of acrolein derived from 1O2 oxidation-specific HpOTE isomers (i.e., 10- and 15-HpOTE) was two times greater than that of other HpOTE isomers (i.e., 9-, 12-, 13-, and 16-HpOTE). The results of the present study provide a new pathway of acrolein formation from type II photo-oxidation. This information can be used to inform on oil storage and processing conditions to reduce exposure and dietary intake of acrolein.
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