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By Veer S. J. and Dr. Kshirsagar R. B.

Department of Food Engineering, College of Food Technology VNMKV Parbhani

Food additives are used to facilitate or complement a wide variety of food production methods.

The two basic functions of additives are:

(1) to make food safe by preserving it from bacteria, as well as to prevent its oxidation and other undesirable chemical changes, and

(2) to make food look good and to be palatable. According to the general rule for food additives CODEX- STAN 192-1995, food additives are defined as any substance that by itself is not normally consumed as food and is not used as a characteristic ingredient of food. The result of incorporating an additive into food is that it becomes directly or indirectly a component of the food.

Food additives are divided into six groups: 1) preservative, 2) nutritional, 3) coloring, 4) flavoring, 5) texturizing, and 6) miscellaneous.


The term antioxidant is associated with the effect of an antioxidant on a specific medium dependent of factors such as chemical reactivity, location at cellular level, concentration, mobility, interactions with free radicals, absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion.

Antioxidants are classified according to their mode of action, source or solubility (Gutteridge and. According to their mode of action, antioxidants are grouped into five types: radical scavenging antioxidants or antioxidants that break the chain of radical propagation; chelators, which form complexes with metals and prevent them from initiating the formation of radicals; extinguishers, which deactivate high-energy oxidant species; oxygen scavengers, which remove oxygen from the systems, preventing their destabilization; and finally, regenerators of antioxidants, which reconstitute other antioxidants present in the food when they become radicals.

The deterioration rate of a food can be influenced by the presence of endogenous antioxidants, the presence of oxygen and toxic substances susceptible to oxidation, temperature, pH and light. Oxidation can be avoided or retarded by various media, for example by replacing air with inert gases during packaging, using enzymes that consume the oxygen present in the medium, incorporating UV radiation-absorbing substances into packaging and using cooling systems. These media are sometimes not sufficient to prolong the shelf life of some foods. For this reason, the use of exogenous antioxidants in food has become essential to retard oxidative deterioration and prolong its useful life. Antioxidants have specific properties and are more effective in some applications than others. A combination of two or more antioxidants is more effective than individual use, thus favoring

the synergistic effects that enhance the activity of antioxidants. The use of antioxidant extracts can be very effective in food preservation.

Below is a description of the natural sources of antioxidants that are used or are potential additive antioxidants


Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and others are characterized by high anthocyanin concentrations, a subgroup of phenolic compounds. Anthocyanins are water-soluble natural pigments with strong antioxidant activity used to inhibit lipid oxidation in food. Anthocyanins play an important role in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and cancer diseases.


Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) is a shrub very popular in Europe, because it is used as a herb for its pleasant flavor and aroma. This aroma is due to the presence of essential oils that represent between 1 and 3% of the total mass of leaves and flowers. The oil consists mainly of 1,8-cineol, α-pinene and camphor. Rosemary has antioxidant activity due to the phenolic compounds found mainly in flowers. Among the phenolic compounds found in rosemary are carnosol, carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid. The rosemary extract has been approved as a food additive for use in the European Union since 2008 and is formally labelled “Extracts of Rosemary E392”.


Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a plant with very branched rhizomes adapted to warm humid areas. The rhizomes of the plant are yellow and are used as a yellow dye and as a spice. Its spicy taste and golden color improves the quality of the food. Turmeric is also the main ingredient in curry powders, and has been used to accentuate the flavor of pepper. India is one of the largest producers of turmeric. 

Turmeric is considered safe in amounts that are commonly used in food. The FDA declared this food a GRAS, which means that it is generally recognized as safe to use as a food additive. It is a versatile spice that helps detoxify the liver, balance cholesterol levels,

fight allergies, stimulate digestion and increased immunity. This plant contains the phenolic compound curcumin.

Green Tea

The antioxidant properties of green tea are due to the presence (of catechin, epicatechin (EC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), epigallocatechin (EGC), epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Green tea catechins have free radical scavenging and metal chelating activities. Therefore, green tea extracts are used as natural antioxidant additives in food.


Soy (Glycine max) is cultivated from its seeds, and oil and flour rich in protein is obtained from this product. Soybeans also contain isoflavones , phenolic compounds that have antioxidant activity and can prevent ovarian, cervical, and breast cancers. 

The protective effect of soybean and isoflavones is supported by experimental evidence. Ovarian cancer is an estrogen-dependent cancer. Isoflavones induce apoptosis and inhibit the growth and proliferation of ovarian cancer cells.

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