Role of endogenous and exogenous tocopherols in the lipid stability of marine oil systems: A review

Guadalupe Miroslava Suárez-Jiménez, Carmen María López-Saiz, Hugo Enrique Ramírez-Guerra, Josafat Marina Ezquerra-Brauer, Saul Ruiz-Cruz, Wilfrido Torres-Arreola*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


In marine organisms primarily intended for human consumption, the quality of the muscle and the extracted oils may be affected by lipid oxidation during storage, even at low temperatures. This has led to a search for alternatives to maintain quality. In this sense, antioxidant compounds have been used to prevent such lipid deterioration. Among the most used compounds are tocopherols, which, due to their natural origin, have become an excellent alternative to prevent or retard lipid oxidation and maintain the quality of marine products. Tocopherols as antioxidants have been studied both exogenously and endogenously. Exogenous tocopherols are often used by incorporating them into plastic packaging films or adding them directly to fish oil. It has been observed that exogenous tocopherols incorporated in low concentrations maintain the quality of both muscle and the extracted oils during food storage. However, it has been reported that tocopherols applied at higher concentrations act as a prooxidant molecule, probably because their reactions with singlet oxygen may generate free radicals and cause the oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids in fish oils. However, when tocopherols are included in a fish diet (endogenous tocopherols), the antioxidant effect on the muscle lipids is more effective due to their incorporation into the membrane lipids, which can help extend the shelf life of seafood by reducing the lipid deterioration that occurs due to antioxidant synergy with other phenolic compounds used supplements in fish muscle. This review focuses on the most important studies in this field and highlights the potential of using tocopherols as antioxidants in marine oils.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1968
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Antioxidant
  • Fish oil
  • Lipid oxidation
  • Muscle
  • Tocopherols


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