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 Antioxidants and Emu Oil 
Should Antioxidants Be used in Emu Oil?

Why use antioxidants:

The oxidation of fats and oils contained in products result in undesirable chemical changes affecting product color, taste, odor and/or texture. This autoxidative process is complex, but can be explained by a simple series of reactions. First, a hydrogen atom becomes removed from a fat molecule when exposed to heat, light or a metal catalyst. A fatty radical is formed which has an unpaired electron and is highly reactive with an affinity for oxygen. The fatty radical reacts with the oxygen and then with another fat molecule to produce a hydroperoxide and a new fatty radical. These reactions continue to generate more and more hydroperoxides and fatty radicals.

The hydroperoxides react to form peroxides and then break down into aldeLydes, ketones and other components which are undesirable odors, colors and tastes detected organoleptically. The autoxidative process is terminated either when two radicals react with each other or when an antioxidant react with a fatty radical. The role of an antioxidant in fats and oils is to donate a hydrogen atom to the reactive fatty radicals in order to remove it from the cycle described. It is important to realize that the antioxidant cannot reverse the peroxide formation, so they should be added before the autoxidative process starts.

The Study Of the effects of antioxidants used in Emu Oil:

The American Emu Association worked with Jesse Covey in studying emu oil stability with and without antioxidants. The AEA asked for samples from all Emu oil processor companies. Five of the companies sent in samples. The study compared finished and crude oil with and without antioxidants.

The samples were melted and mixed. A portion was treated with 200ppm of BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) and another portion was treated with 200ppm of tocopherol (vitamin E). The total of 30 samples were placed in a controlled environmental chamber set at 80 deg F. in open beakers. Each sample was initially analyzed. Then all samples were checked for peroxide value each week. For the first four weeks, some of the samples show little or no change. The test was then reduced to only those that were determined to be changing. The test continued for twelve weeks or until the sampled reached a peroxide value of 100.


Majority of the crude and finished samples with no antioxidant went to 100 peroxide within two to nine weeks. Majority of the crude and finished samples with BHT or Tocopherol held very well .

Overall, BHT was a slightly better antioxidant than tocopherol.

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