Frying Research

Frying research has traditionally focused on the volatile and nonvolatile degradation chemicals formed in oils as a consequence of heating the oils in air. Summaries of important areas of study at an earlier time have been published (4,5). The degradation pathways and products of heated frying oils have been described (6). Important areas of frying oil analysis have been suggested (7). Diverse tools have been used to attempt to find relationships between different breakdown products in frying oils (8). Facets of oil use influencing fried-food quality have been studied (9,10). A simple surfactant formed in frying oils is related to oil soakage into food (11). Oil flavor chemistry has been described (12). Early evidence of a toxic material formed in abused flying oils has been presented (13). A summary of the nutrition and toxicology of frying oils has been published (14).

No researcher, however, has been able to specifically assign some element or elements in the complex mix of degradation chemicals in oils to the overall physical and sensory quality of food produced in aging frying oils. There is no textbook statement that if this element is examined in oil and controlled, the physical and sensory quality of fried food can be controlled. Some control of texture may be attainable if the chemistry causing crispness can be elucidated. The fractal nature of crust may be controlled by understanding the relationship between oil and starch interactions in potatoes, for example. Only general texts are available in this discipline (15). Flavor and taste components and rates and origins of organic reactions have been intensely studied, but the public as often as not still eats poor-quality fried food.

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