Lipid oxidation reactions in foods rich in healthy unsaturated fatty acids result in the formation of a wide range of oxidation products that can have adverse effects on food quality and safety. To improve the understanding of oxidation reactions and methods for their inhibition, detailed information on the type and levels of the oxidation products formed is required. Accurate measurement of lipid oxidation products, especially of the non-volatile aldehyde products, has so far been a challenge due to the low sensitivity and limited specificity of most analytical methods. Here, a novel normal-phase LC method that uses selective labeling of aldehydes and epoxides with 7-(diethylamino)coumarin-3-carbohydrazide (CHH) is described. Labeling of alkanals is quantitative within 10 h. For alkenals, conversion is only around 50% at 24 h reaction time. Detailed MS identification of all aldehydes and epoxides is possible by using high-resolution MS and data-dependent MS2 acquisition. Fluorescence detection was successfully used to quantify groups of oxidation products. Sensitivity was high enough to allow accurate quantification even in fresh mayonnaises, where levels of around only 0.3 g total aldehydes/kg oil were found. Individual species can be quantified by MS if suitable reference standards are available. If no standards can be used, semi-quantification using an average response factor is an option. Clearly, the novel derivatization method is suitable for monitoring secondary lipid oxidation products in the early stages of shelf life. This makes it an important tool for developing improved food products.
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