What are antioxidants ?

Antioxidant molecules are usually defined as a group of different organic compounds that inhibit oxidation, which is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals and chain reactions that may damage the product which are in contact with.

Where are applied ?

From animal feed to human food, in industrial fields like lubricants, diesel/gasoline fuels, biodiesel, kerosene, plastic and polymers, rubbers and elastomers, leather, coatings, pharmaceutical and cosmetic preparations, inks, etc. All previous applications require to prolong product shelf life, properties, and characteristics.

As an example, in animal feed products, oxidation has many undesirable effects on imported, processed, and packaged foodstuffs. They include adverse colour changes, spoilage/waste, adverse physical changes, rancidity, and deterioration of nutritional content. In addition, the oxidation reactions deteriorate proteins, carbohydrates, fats, mineral supplements, and vitamins in animal feeds.

Where do they come from ?

            For industrial purpose, main antioxidant molecules are chemically or synthetically manufactured, the more common are the following ones:

  1. Phenolic or Primary Antioxidants, highly effective against free radicals.
  2. Phosphite or Secondary Antioxidants, specially used during processing.
  3. Aminic Antioxidants, specially used in rubber compounding.
  4. Thioester Antioxidants, used to decompose and neutralize hydroperoxides.
  5. Natural or Botanical Extracts, specially used in feed or food and cosmetic preparations.
  6. Binary/Ternary Blends, combination of primary, secondary and/or ternary antioxidant to achieve optimum stabilization.

What’s expected with LIBERATE EU project ?

Lignin is one of the most abundant and renewable organic polymers on Earth, exceeded only by cellulose. Lignin constitutes 30% of non-fossil organic carbon and 20-35% of the dry mass of wood. Essentially it is the largest renewable source of aromatic organic material. Lignin is a by-product of the paper pulping process and is currently incinerated to generate bioenergy.

The LIBERATE project builds an electrochemical flow reactor that can depolymerise lignin into some desired by products with expected antioxidant properties. Additionally, with Ion exchange resins coupled to the electrochemical reactor, enables the possibility to separate and isolate desired chemicals, like bio-phenolic derivatives.

OXIRIS CHEMICALS S.A is a leading manufacturer of antioxidants. The company will act as an End-User within the LIBERATE project and will be focused to develop new antioxidant solutions from the bio-phenolic extracts produced by the electrochemical reactor, specially looking for new developments to preserve feed raw materials like animal fat or fish/meat meal, but also other final applications could be defined depending on the antioxidant performance tested on polymers, oils or lubricants, by using a raw material of natural origin.