Redox cycling and generation of reactive oxygen species in commercial infant formulas

William L. Boatright, Andrea D. Crum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Three nationally prominent commercial powdered infant formulas generated hydrogen peroxide, ranging from 10.46 to 11.62 μM, when prepared according to the manufacturer's instructions. Treating infant formulas with the chelating agent diethylene triamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA) significantly reduced H2O2 generation. In contrast, the addition of disodium ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) elevated the level of H2O2 generated in the same infant formulas by approximately 3- to 4-fold above the untreated infant formulas. The infant formulas contained ascorbate radicals ranging from about 138 nM to 40 nM. Treatment with catalase reduced the ascorbate radical contents by as much as 67%. Treatment with DTPA further reduced ascorbate radical signals to below quantifiable levels in most samples, further implicating the involvement of transition metal redox cycling in reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation. Supportive evidence of the generation of ROS is provided using luminol-enhanced luminescence (LEL) in both model mixtures of ascorbic acid and in commercial infant formulas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18078
Pages (from-to)189-195
Number of pages7
JournalFood Chemistry
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Ascorbate radical
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Catalase
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Infant formula
  • Oxygen radicals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Food Science


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